A German windfarm company has started moves that could see it add to the so-called “ring of steel” of 600-plus turbines on hills around Loch Ness.
Windfarm objectors yesterday revealed that more than 3,000 people have signed a petition against the proliferation of turbines built or planned in the area.
ABO Wind is the latest to submit an application for a wind-measuring mast as a precursor to a windpark on land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland at Mandally in Glengarry.
The company recently scrapped plans for a wind scheme near Ben Wyvis due to a range of issues “that could impact on the commercial viability of the site”.
It could not say how many turbines it may want to build at Mandally.
Project manager Tom Harrison said: “We need the data from the met mast to help us decide whether the area has potential for wind energy generation and will await the results of the data before we commence the design of any windfarm layout.”
He estimated that the wind measurement period would be about a year and he promised to consult the local community on the outcome.
ABO Wind has one operating windfarm in Scotland comprising three turbines near Lairg.
The Friends of the Great Glen pressure group has attracted more than 500 individual comments among its 3,098 signatories to an online “Save Loch Ness and the Great Glen” petition against the rise of turbines within a 22-mile radius of the loch.
A wide range of comment within its parliamentary petition includes criticism that “the planning system isn’t fit for purpose in the scale of these industrial scale developments”.
Damning the process as undemocratic, Pat Helme wrote: “In many cases local people don’t want them, local councils reject planning applications but they’re overruled by Edinburgh with no further right of appeal.”
Fiona Butcher states: “Future generations will never forgive you. They are economic nonsense.
“Stop the destruction of Scotland’s wild scenery by wind turbines.”
The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to take steps to designate the Loch Ness and Great Glen as a National Scenic Area, to recommend a priority application be made to Unesco for the area to be afforded World Heritage protection and “to take appropriate steps to discourage further wind turbine developments and support the restoration of sites damaged by wind turbines”.
The petition is currently being considered by the parliament’s petitions committee.