Scotland to be turbine alley?

Tuesday 5th August 2014
Monadhliath Mountains: Composite courtesy Google

The Monadhliath Mountains are under threat still by the now 14-turbine development planned by energy firm Coriolis Energy (which only ever looks to the sky) on the Dell Estate in Whitebridge, near Fort Augustus.

The assault on Scotland's rarer and more remote regions goes on, with very few  achieving successful oppositions (as the Tiree Argyll Array;  Fife's opposition to  turbines at Kenly Farm, and  European Falck Renewables bowing out  over the Little Wyvis wind farm. 

The Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust is strongly opposing plans by two renewable energy companies to construct a huge electric substation on the historic site in East Lothian but doesn't look to be winning. 

Campaigners reports The Scotsman claim the development  “continues the devastation and industrialisation” of the area, impacting on the world-famous Monadhliath Mountains.

Lyndsey Ward, an independent Highland anti-windfarm protester from Kiltarlity in Inverness-shire, said such projects were “ruining” the mountain range, regarded as among the most scenic in the world.

New tracks would have to be created on the Monadhliath Mountains to provide access to the windfarm, which is close to the reservoir serving SSE’s Glendoe hydro scheme. The turbines are  next to a site where the energy giant has earmarked a 67-turbine windfarm at Stronelairg.

Miss Ward said: “ So many tourists are now saying they will never return because the wild land which Scotland is famous for is being devastated by this industrialisation.”

The MCoS (Mountaineering Council of Scotland) has said that the Monadhliath mountains were “precious” and among the most scenic in Scotland, adding they and should be protected from what it said would be industrialisation on a massive scale.

The Council is also supporting businesses  fighting to save tourism to Rannoch (above)  from the threat of a vast new wind farm. Talladh a Bheithe Wind Farm Ltd wants to build 24 wind turbines, each 125 metres tall, together with the wide access tracks, buildings and infrastructure, on moorland between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht.

Another of Scotland’s few remaining areas of wild land – famous for its unspoilt emptiness and beauty as well as its wildlife. The huge turbines would affect the views from Schiehallion, the Ben Alder massif, the mountains above Glen Lyon and Loch Tay and some above the Drumochter Pass. It would even be visible from the main A82 on the far side of Rannoch Moor and from Buachaille Etive Mor beyond.

Helen McDade, head of policy for the John Muir Trust conservation charity, also criticised theincreasing number of windfarms in the Monadhliath area. 

“The Trust will look carefully at the detail of the Dell proposal in the context of the cumulative impact of a flurry of development around the Monadhliath Mountains and Loch Ness, which includes the recently consented 67-turbine Stronelairg Wind Farm.

“Unfortunately, some developers have since used the existence of the Glendoe Hydro Scheme as a Trojan horse to justify other applications, with the result that the character of the entire area is now being transformed.”

The new turbines would be 426ft high and claimed to have  potential to generate a total of 42MW .Developer Coriolis Energy originally wanted to erect 22 turbines, but altered its plans following concerns about the visual impact of the scheme. 

Plans will be scrutinised by Highland Council and othergroups, including local community councils, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Water.

 

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