The public inquiry into the proposed Allt Duine windfarm on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park has started this week in Aviemore.
The RWE Npower Renewables application is to build 31 125-metre turbines at Allt Duine in the Monadhliath mountains. Mrs Jill Moody DipTP MRTPI, an inquiry reporter, will conduct the process and report back to the Scottish Government. Anyone who previously objected or commented on the planning application will be able to give evidence and written objections will also be taken into account.
The Allt Duine proposal has proved more controversal than many windfarm applications because of its situation on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park and because of the number of other wind developments nearby. It is one of 11 developments (proposed or currently under construction) in this area. In January this year, Highland Council rejected the application, paving the way for the public inquiry and final decision which will be made by the Scottish Government.
Outdoor writers Chris Townsend and Cameron McNeish and Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust, Stuart Brooks, are backing the campaign, along with support from over 1,300 supporters and organisations such as the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS), Scottish Campaign for National Parks, Walkhighlands and Scotland-Landscapes. Kincraig Community Council has backed the project saying it would help Badenoch and Strathspey be self sufficient in terms of electricity.
MCofS Chief officer David Gibson said: “We support green energy generation but this scheme involves dumping 15,500 tonnes of concrete and miles of roads in mountain areas of national importance and beauty.
“Wind farms are supposed to have a lifetime of 25 years, we would therefore expect developers to include proposals for site restitution in their plans as evidence of good stewardship of the environment.
“This public inquiry should protect our precious natural environment by putting a stop to this completely inappropriate project.”
The Cairngorms National Park Authority has also lodged an objection to the public inquiry. It said some of the turbines would come as close as 900m (2,952ft) from the park’s boundary.