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Landscape Matters

Mountaineers Welcome Highland Council Decision on Wind Farm Developments

Tuesday 12th February 2013

Press Release         12 February 2013         For immediate release

Mountaineers Welcome Highland Council Decision on Wind Farm Developments

PRESENT PLANNING FREE-FOR-ALL NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

The MCofS welcomed the news today that The Highland Council North Planning Committee decided to reject 2 massive onshore wind farm planning proposals.

The section 36 proposals which were determined today are:

· Glemorie Wind Farm: to the north of Dingwall with a proposed 34 turbines and 35 kilometres of access track. The MCofS originally objected to the proposal because it contravenes The Highland Council’s own policy on onshore wind farm locations.

· Dalnessie Wind Farm: 13 km North East of Lairg comprising 27 wind turbines and associated infrastructure, including 20 km of new access track. Each turbine would be up to 121 metres high to blade tip. The MCofS originally objected to the development because it would not be in accordance with the Highland Council’s Development Plan

David Gibson, MCofS Chief Officer stated:

“We objected to these industrial-scale proposals on the grounds that they were inappropriate developments which contravened Highland Council planning policy; they would have a significant visual impact on the mountains and other wild land, and adversely affect a broad swathe of Scotland’s finest landscapes.

“We believe that members of the Planning Committee have acted in the best interests of their constituents, and in the broader public interest, as custodians of some unique and very special landscapes. However, we still fail to understand why Highland Council planning officials originally recommended that the Council should ‘raise no objection’ to Glenmorie and Dalnessie given their own policy and the obvious and intrusive impact on recognised and designated landscape areas.

“The MCofS is not opposed to onshore wind farms and we have objected to only 6% of the onshore developments tracked by Scottish Natural Heritage.

“We seek protection for the mountains through changes to Scottish Government planning policy. We have called repeatedly for the introduction of a national spatial planning policy for onshore wind farm developments which would give protection to precious mountain landscapes and at the same time offer developers guidance on where wind farms could be located.

“The present planning free-for-all, which encourages inappropriate and speculative developments, and in which the Scottish Government is placing unreasonable pressure on local authorities to process and approve developments, is not a recipe for success. The Scottish Government, despite their repeated and empty assurances that such protection exists, must act to provide protection for our superb landscapes. Given this is the Year of Natural Scotland, we believe that is the minimum they should do.”

Ends

About the MCofS

  • Contact David Gibson 07845 919 150 or davidg@mcofs.org.uk or call 01738 493 947 in normal office hours.
  • The MCofS represents, supports and promotes Scottish mountaineering. Founded in 1970 by the Association of Scottish Climbing Clubs, MCofS is the only recognised representative organisation for hill walkers, climbers and ski-tourers who live in Scotland or who enjoy Scotland’s mountains.
  • The MCofS also acts for members of the BMC or British Mountaineering Council on matters related to Landscape and Access. The organisation provides training and information to mountain users to promotes safety, self-reliance and the enjoyment of our mountain environment.
  • MCofS has 11,400 members, representing hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers, funded through a combination of membership subscriptions; non-governmental grants; and investment from sportscotland, which supports public initiatives and services in mountain safety, mountain weather information services, mountain leader training and the development and promotion of mountaineering activities. MCofS is a not for profit company limited by guarantee and incorporated in Scotland. Company number SC322717.
  • For further information about the MCofS and for our manifesto, Protecting our Mountains: The MCofS Manifesto on Onshore Wind Farms, see lps.asp