Scotland’s mountaineers have joined Cairngorm National Park Authority in objecting to plans for a 36-turbine wind farm in the iconic Monadhliaths.
Consultation is currently being carry out by the Scottish Government into the Cloiche wind farm, proposed by SSE Generation, a subsidiary of SSE.
The proposed Cloiche Wind Farm is located on Glendoe and Garrogie Estates, next to the operational Stronelairg Wind Farm and Glendoe Hydroelectric Scheme, approximately 11km to the south-east of Fort Augustus.
Concern has been expressed that this latest development could create a ring of turbines around the Monadhliaths.
A spokesman for Mountaineering Scotland said: “Consent is sought for 50 years. The proposed development is considered significantly detrimental notwithstanding the existence of the operational Stronelairg wind farm, because of its visual impact and consequential impacts on mountaineering recreation and tourism. These impacts cannot be mitigated.”
While over a mile outside its boundary, the CNPA has also objected on the grounds of the visual impact it would have on views from within the park – particularly when they are combined with the Stronelairg turbines.
The park authority board was told it was already experiencing the effects from existing wind farms, and others had already been consented, particularly in the Monadhliaths area to the north-west of the park boundary.
Eleanor Mackintosh, convener of the CNPA planning committee, said: “The committee unanimously agreed with the officer’s recommendations to object to the proposed Cloiche wind farm due to the negative impact on the special qualities and landscape character of the National Park.”
SSE said the total installed capacity of the proposed development would be over 150MW – so requiring Scottish Government approval – and comprise of 36 turbines with a maximum tip height of 149.9 metres.
It comprises an eastern cluster and a western cluster, and would include on-site access tracks (of which approximately 26km are new access tracks and approximately 29km are existing tracks where upgrades may be undertaken), a new on-site substation and a network of underground cabling to connect each wind turbine to the on-site substation.
SSE said one of the benefits of constructing and operating a wind farm in this location would be the capacity to make use of existing infrastructure and access tracks created for Glendoe Hydroelectric Scheme and Stronelairg Wind Farm, as well as the experience gained from construction of both of these projects.