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Fury over plan for 46 turbines at Highland beauty spot

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Residents of a Highland village are preparing to do battle over plans for a huge wind farm near picturesque Glen Affric.

German company Vento Ludens Ltd submitted a scoping report to the Scottish Government in November for the construction of 46 wind turbines at Fasnakyle.

It would cover 5,000 acres to the south-east of Tomich, within the area once proposed for the Beinn Mhor Wind Farm, but expanding into areas of Guisachan Forest.

Each turbine would, under the initial proposals, tower 492 feet above the surrounding landscape, which includes the Glen Affric Natural Nature Reserve, Wild Land Area and Scenic Landscape Areas.

The proposals come just five years after the Scottish Government squashed an appeal for plans to site six wind turbines as part of the Beinn Mhor Wind Farm on the land.

With the threat of development on the land imminent, residents have expressed their concerns over the implications on the community.

Cliff Green, from the Stop Turbines at Glenurquhart group, said the development could have a direct effect on tourism and the area’s landscape.

He said: “Local residents will once again face years of stress and uncertainty if this large-scale proposal is progressed further.

“The cumulative impact of these turbines, together with the existing Bhlaraidh (32 turbines) and Corrimony (five turbines) wind farms, will have a big impact on views from Glen Affric.

“The local area is heavily reliant on tourism and we are concerned that walkers and others looking to enjoy our beautiful landscape will not want to return if the landscape they see is full of industrial structures.”

Local residents have turned out to a number of public consultations held by the developers in recent days to air their concerns about the project.

A Tomich resident spoke of her devastation over the plans and the implications it would have for the community.

She said: “Three to four years of people’s lives were spent worrying about Ben Mhor.

“It was turned down at the highest level but within five years developers are back again with an even bigger and more high impact development.

“The general thing is that it is such a special area. There shouldn’t be a development like this in it.

“It will affect people’s lives, their homes and their health and it will affect tourism and our wildlife, including all the special things, such as our golden eagles.”

The resident added: “We put up with a lot of other things. We don’t have internet and we don’t have amenities other people rely upon but that is OK, because for us the landscape outweighs that.

“To have that threatened like this again, when it’s just been so resoundingly turned down before, is devastating.”

Matthew Haughton, Project Manager, Fasnakyle Wind Farm, said: “We have received many positive comments from local residents attending our public exhibitions and we will now carefully consider the feedback from other people who have expressed concerns as we refine our plans for the project.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scottish Ministers received a scoping report last November and issued their subsequent scoping opinion on 14 January.

“There is no application currently before Ministers in relation to this proposed development.  If an application is submitted, a consultation process will be undertaken and Ministers would consider environmental information, consultation responses and representations by members of the public before reaching a determination.”

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