Wild land charity the John Muir Trust has lodged objections to three proposed hydro schemes in the popular outdoor area of Glen Etive near Glencoe on wild land grounds.
The proposed schemes on the south-east side of the Glen Etive Road at Allt Ceitlein, Allt Chaorainn and Allt Mheuran are within the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, the Glen Etive and Glen Fyne Special Protection Area and within Wild Land Area 9 Loch Etive Mountains.
The proposed developments are part of seven hydro schemes planned for the glen by the same development company. The Trust has stated in its individual objections that each proposed development will also be a contributor to a cumulative impact.
John Low, policy officer for the John Muir Trust said: “These hydro schemes would introduce permanent new tracks and related works into the wild land of the Glen Etive Mountains. It’s clearly not the right place, the impact on the landscape and its scenic qualities would be significant.”
“These are areas afforded significant protection in Scottish planning policy. The fact a number of organisations, groups, and many individuals are making the case against these proposals highlights a growing call for these applications to be rejected. Individually and cumulatively they would have a terrible visual and physical impact on this inspirational glen that has social, ecological and cultural value.”
In its objection the Trust has highlighted the potential loss of the wild land characteristics, not only to hillwalkers and mountaineers, but also to visitors and the wider public – highlighting that the experience of grandeur looking at spectacular scenery from the glen road would be vastly diminished.
The Trust, which is committed to supporting Scottish and UK Government’s policy principles aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions reduction, has also stated in its objections that when combined with the other proposals for small scale hydro schemes in the glen, these schemes will make a negligible contribution to those targets. The Trust’s assessment is that any potential gains being claimed are far outweighed by the loss of this wild land.
The Glen Etive proposals were one of the environmental controveries covered in David Lintern’s recent round-up on Walkhighlands – Looking after what we love.