I’ve been happy to back a growing campaign to stop the go-ahead of a proposed wind farm at Allt Duine, situated on the very edge of the Cairngorms National Park.
Representing one of 11 wind farms planned for or built in this location alone, we are increasingly concerned about the cumulative effect of turbines on the unspoiled landscape of Scotland’s largest national park and we’re urging supporters to ‘Save the Monadhliath Mountains’ (SMM).
Formal objections to plans by RWE npower renewables Ltd for a large onshore wind farm at Allt Duine, located in the Monadh Liath near the village of Kincraig, have already been lodged by the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the John Muir Trust and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. Several estates close to the proposed site, Pitmain Estate, Glenfeshie Estate and Coignafearn Estate, have also submitted their objections.
While we are not against renewable energy in principal, we feel that the 31 turbines, the majority of which are 125m in height, which is the equivalent to a stack of 28 double-decker buses, are completely inappropriate for an area of outstanding natural beauty and would have a critical and irrevocable impact on the landscape, wildlife and ornithology of the area.
Since the SMM website went live just over a week ago, the campaign is already gathering momentum. Over 450 people have signed the online petition opposing the proposals including my old friend and colleague Chris Townsend, former president of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and gear editor of TGO (The Great Outdoors) magazine.
This campaign is not against renewables or onshore wind farms per se. What we vehemently object to is that if this proposal goes ahead, it will adversely affect the wilderness and wildlife in the Monadhliath Mountains, threatening the unique character and natural beauty of this area – once that’s gone, it’s gone forever. I would urge supporters to sign our petition and in doing so send a clear message to the planners - that the proposal for Allt Duine is a wind farm too far. The planning application is likely to be considered by the Highland Council’s Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch andStrathspey Planning Application Committee on 8 November. This gives the SMM campaign and the local community less than eight weeks to gather support to reject this proposal outright and demand a public inquiry be launched by the Scottish Government.
With the site boundary of the wind farm just 400m from the National Park, the permanent access and cabling route would begin within the park itself, as too would the site reception and temporary construction compound.
Access tracks leading to the wind farm would also cross a number of important habitats on the Scottish biodiversity list, such as blanket bog, wet heath, dry heath and lichen-rich heaths. A variety of birds of prey have also been tracked in the vicinity of the proposed site.
Once constructed, the wind turbines would be visible from up to 35km away, destroying further views of the striking Monadhliath Mountains. They would also be seen from Cairn Gorm and parts of the Rothiemurchus Estate, both of which are listed as two of the top ten visitor attractions in the Highlands, potentially having a significant impact on tourism in the area, which is vital to the local economy.
Please take time to object to the planning application for Allt Duine wind farm, by visiting www.savemonadhliathmountains.com to sign the campaign petition. A template letter of objection is also available online to send to the relevant Highland Council and local community councillors, MP and MSPs, all of whom are listed on the campaign website. To contact the Highland Council directly to register your objection go to: www.highland.gov.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org Planning application reference 11/00853/S36. Many thanks.