Campaigners fear the Moray landscape will be ravaged if plans for a new 29-turbine wind farm are allowed to go ahead.
Energy giant Fred Olson Renewables is behind the latest green energy proposal for Scotland’s whisky tourism heartland.
It’s Rothes III proposal – boasting towers over 700 metres tall – would sit alongside the existing Rothes I and II sites and bring the development ever closer to Rothes itself.
The plans have been greeted with anger by local wind farm campaigners, who believe the Moray landscape is already saturated with turbines and cannot have any more installed.
Statistics have shown that Moray is 0.9% of the UK land area but may soon boast 10.9% of all UK turbines.
Opponents have said Rothes III will only “add to the deterioration” of the landscape, claiming the upper Lossie valley has been caught in a “feeding-frenzy”.
They have appealed to the Scottish Government to block it.
George Heraghty is a member of Save Wild Moray, which was established by concerned locals to stop projects from spoiling the region’s scenery and harming its wildlife.
He said: “The turbines are creeping ever more closer towards Rothes itself and these will be to the east of the ones already extremely visible from the Elgin area.
“It is being presented as an extension of the existing Rothes I and II developments (of 40 turbines) but this will scar Speyside beyond belief.
“It will be visible from many corners of Moray and will dominate views from Ben Rinnes, the most important landmark hill in all of Moray.”
“They will only add to the deterioration of the Moray landscape.
“Visitors come to expect the finest landscapes and end up being stuck looking at wind turbines.”
The new proposals are just one of several plans submitted to the Scottish Government in recent years to build more turbines in the area.
The objection period for Clashgour wind farm, which could lead to 47 turbines up to 575ft tall being built about seven miles south of Forres, closed earlier this month.
Final plans have also been submitted for the Pauls Hill II wind farm near Knockando, which would include seven turbines up to 500ft tall.
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Fellow Save Wild Moray member, Mark Holdsworth, added: “We are appalled by this.
“It seems to be a feeding frenzy in the upper Lossie valley with four live developments 100 yards from each other.
“If they all go ahead, it is the absolute end for a beautiful area, and if it keeps going like the wild landscape will completely disappear.
“Moray councillors and politicians need to show some vision and backbone and stop this before its too late.”
The Scottish Government has stressed that renewable energy projects help create jobs, boost the economy and contribute to climate change targets.
A spokesman said: “All wind farm planning applications must meet strict planning criteria.
“We are committed to delivering a planning system that works for everyone, ensuring local communities have their say.”
A Scottish Government spokesman added: “The Scottish Government’s Energy Consent Unit currently have three wind farm applications under consideration in the Moray Council planning authority area, Rothes III Extension, Clash Gour and Paul’s Hill II.
“Decisions will be taken in due course once the required consultation periods, and any resultant public local inquiries, have concluded, with ministers taking account of all responses and representations before making a determination.”
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