Britain’s mountaineers have united in a campaign to protect Scotland’s most sensitive mountain areas from wind farm industrialisation.
The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) has announced its backing for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s (MCofS) manifesto which calls for a moratorium on further developments in key upland areas, especially round the Munros and Corbetts which are Scotland’s highest peaks.
The document, Protecting our Mountains: The MCofS Manifesto on Onshore Wind Farms, also seeks urgent action to create a Scottish national spatial renewables policy to harmonise clean energy generation with landscape protection.
MCofS Chief Officer David Gibson welcomed the support of the BMC, which has 75,000 members and represents mountaineers and hill walkers across England and Wales. He said: “BMC backing for our manifesto is an important step forward in our campaign to stop big electricity companies exploiting Scotland’s natural heritage for their own profits.
“Climbers and hill walkers all over Scotland, and the UK, are deeply concerned about the growing number of highly unsuitable planning applications being made to build huge commercial wind farms in Scotland’s most sensitive and beautiful mountain landscapes.
“We are not opposed to wind farms; we are in favour of conserving our mountains. We are calling on the Scottish Government to work with those who care about the environment to create a clear policy on what will be permitted and where.
“Current measures, including their new good practice guide, are ineffectual responses to an issue with huge implications for our natural heritage, our wildlife and our tourism industries.”
Dave Turnbull, BMC Chief Executive said: “Our members and many overseas climbers have always regarded Scotland’s fantastic mountains as an important destination of choice, offering year-round challenges for hill walkers, and climbers
“We are backing the MCofS manifesto because we believe that the mountains must be protected for future generations to enjoy – not just mountaineers but all those who enjoy the landscape.
“The BMC recognises the challenge and dangers of a changing climate and is not opposed to wind energy — far from it. But our wildest landscapes need protection from uncontrolled industrialisation.
“Scotland’s mountains now face an unprecedented threat from an onslaught of wind farm applications. These are bound to have an impact on peoples’ enjoyment of the mountains as many iconic areas are faced with major industrial developments.
“At this stage we may not know what the impact will be on our members’ perception of Scotland as a destination, but there is bound to be some reaction to the prospect of visiting industrialised landscapes.”