Rannoch windfarm would wreck spectacular landscape, says trust

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Trust makes plea to stop Rannoch windfarm plans as MSPs discuss the controversial development

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29th September 2014 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Conservation charity the John Muir Trust has warned that the proposed Talladh-a-Bheithe windfarm in Rannoch could have a disastrous impact on Scotland’s reputation for spectacular landscapes.

If approved the wind farm will, according to the charity, adversely affect views from 5% of Scotland’s 282 Munros, including Buachaille Etive Mor and Schiehallion.

MSPs discussed the application in the Scottish Parliament today (Monday).

Celebrated in books such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and films such as The 39 Steps and Trainspotting, Rannoch Moor is one of the largest remaining wild areas in Scotland and a defining landscape for the country’s identity abroad.

This is a real test case for the Scottish Government’s recent commitment to protect our wildest landscapes

If approved the development would see 24 turbines up to 125m high being erected between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht.

There would also be 12.8 kilometres of new access tracks plus associated buildings and infrastructure.

The windfarm would be built only 1,300 metres from the Rannoch and Glen Lyon National Scenic Area (NSA) and 10 kilometres from the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe NSA.

Scottish Natural Heritage has objected to the “significant adverse effect” the wind farm could have on the landscape of these areas.

The turbines would also be visible from the iconic West Highland Railway line and the A82 road to Glen Coe.

The proposal is wholly within one of SNH’s newly identified Wild Land Areas and the trust says it flies in the face of 2014 Scottish Government planning guidelines that committed to value and protect Scotland’s wildest landscapes.

John Muir Trust’s head of policy Helen McDade said: “This proposal could be damaging to Scotland’s international image. This development threatens to turn one of Scotland’s most famed landscapes of open moor and mountain grandeur into a semi- industrial landscape.

“I’m all for sensitively sited low carbon energy but you really couldn’t dream up a worse place to put a massive windfarm in Scotland.

“With Scotland’s reputation for stunning landscapes at stake I hope and expect our MSPs to stand up for wild Rannoch, Scotland’s image abroad and the future of our tourist industry in today’s parliamentary debate."

The proposed wind farm development has been submitted by Netherlands-based developer, Eventus BV, of which the Talladh-a-Bheithe landowner is a major shareholder.

There have been around a thousand objections to this scheme, including those from the John Muir Trust, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, Keep Rannoch Wild, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency