Lochaber residents claim plans for a hydro scheme at historic Glencoe were shrouded in secrecy amid claims of a cover-up.
A heated public meeting in the village of Glencoe this week was the first time villagers met with developers, after they learned of the hydro plan from the pages of the Press and Journal.
Chairman of the community council Alister Sutherland welcomed the publication of the story in the press, but asked for calm, after allegations of a “cover up” and “secrecy” were thrown at executives from energy firm Glen Hydro, part of Vento Ludens Ltd.
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The meeting heard that the owner of the land the scheme would be accessed over, a Mr Baxter, was not even aware of the application for the scheme.
Glen Hydro have lodged plans to construct a river hydro scheme, on land 3640ft south west of Glencoe Caravan And Camping Site to include an intake, buried pipeline, turbine house, outfall, grid connection and access tracks.
The area is historically significant as 38 MacDonalds of Glencoe were murdered by British Government troops, after the clan chief failed to meet a deadline to state his allegiance to the King.
One woman said: “The area where this hydro is planned is the very place we tell visitors to go if they want to soak up the atmosphere of Glencoe. To understand what Scotland and the area would have been like at the time of the massacre. If this hydro is build here – we will lose that.
“It is highly likely people were murdered on that hillside.”
Another man shouted: “This smacks of a cover up. Why didn’t you ask us if we wanted this hydro scheme?
”If we hadn’t read this in the press, then when would we have heard about it.”
The couple who lived closest to the scheme said they were worried about the noise of the power house.
“We have been to other power houses and we are concerned about the volume of noise from them.”
Nick Forest, speaking on behalf on Glen Hydro, said: “The tender agreement that we have with the Forestry Commission means that we have to go through the process of applying for the scheme in a very controlled way.
“This means we were unable to talk openly with the community until very recently.”
He explained that there was no intention to keep information from residents. He said that there would be a community payment of approximately £1750 per year for them to spend as they wished.