The Highland Council has been strongly urged to reject a bid by Culachy Estate to overturn planning conditions on a section of the controversial Beauly-Denny power line.
The estate, near Fort Augustus, has sought permission to make permanent nearly 8 kilometres of temporary access track and two bridges, running almost parallel to the famous Wade Military Road through the Corrieyairack Pass in the Monadhliath.
The track is part of the access road for construction of the power line, given approval after a long battle between developers Scottish Hydro-Electric Transmission Limited (part of SSE) and conservationists, and only granted permission on the condition that it be removed once construction of the line was complete.
Now Culachy Estate has sought permission to make a section of the track permanent, claiming it is to enable the expansion of sporting activities on the estate. However, it is known that the estate is also seeking permission for a large wind farm in the area.
David Gibson, Chief Executive Officer of the MCofS, said: “It is an utter disgrace that a national planning condition – especially one imposed after such a contentious planning process – can be so eroded by piecemeal applications to local planning authorities.”
He added that the impact of the construction tracks on the landscape was a central concern at the public inquiry into the Beauly-Denny line.
“This track is highly visible from Wade’s road and the surrounding hills – a popular area for walkers. The area is already affected by the power line and the presence of the track adds to the impact on the landscape. It was argued that the power line is in the national interest, but no such argument can be made by the estate for the track, which extends into an area designated as wild land. It is the duty of Highland Council planners to reject the application.”