Mountaineers urge councillors to reject windfarm near Glen Affric

David Gibson is urging councillors to reject the proposal
David Gibson is urging councillors to reject the proposal

A national mountaineering body is urging councillors to reject a windfarm near to a world famous Highland beauty spot.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) wants elected members of the south planning applications committee to refuse consent for the Beinn Mhor development near Glen Affric.

Mountaineers objected to the proposals to build the windfarm – which would consist of six turbines standing at nearly 392ft – on the slopes at Guisachen by Tomich.

The application has been lodged by Edinburgh-based wpd Scotland.

A council site visit will take place on Monday, February 23, before a decision is made on Tuesday, February 24.

In its objection, the MCofS said the proposed windfarm would have severe landscape and visual impacts on the area and would affect local tourism and recreation.

Chief officer David Gibson said: “This site cannot support a wind energy development of the scale proposed without causing an unacceptable and intrusive impact on the important and iconic landscape of the Glen Affric area, with consequent impacts on tourism.

“The planning officer’s report is disappointingly empty of original content and repeats much of the developer’s own information. It is alarming that it recommends consent but makes no attempt to rebut the 1,019 objections from the public and two community councils, whereas there were only 179 responses in support. On tourism it contradicts itself – stating that the impact would be negligible and the development won’t put hill users off climbing the mountains of this area yet also saying it may discourage repeat visits.

“There are existing and proposed wind farms in the vicinity at Bhlaraidh and Corrimony and to consent this development – closer than either of them to Glen Affric – would facilitate the steady march of turbines to the west.

“The area has high scenic value which is of international repute and popular with a wide range of visitors – not just mountaineers. If consented, the development could turn a landscape which is outstanding into something which is plain ordinary.”

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