The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) is urging elected members of the Highland Council South Planning Applications Committee to refuse consent for the Beinn Mhor wind farm on the edge of the world-famous landscape of Glen Affric.
Mountaineers objected to the proposals to build the wind farm – which would consist of six turbines each almost 400 feet high – on the slopes of Beinn Mhor, near Tomich, just south of the iconic glen.
Elected members of the South Planning Applications Committee and officials from Highland Council will visit the site of the proposed wind farm on Monday 23 February, before deciding the application on Tuesday 24 February.
In its objection, the MCofS said the proposed wind farm would have severe landscape and visual impacts on the area and would affect local tourism and recreation.
Chief Officer David Gibson said: “This site cannot support a wind energy development of the scale proposed without causing an unacceptable and intrusive impact on the important and iconic landscape of the Glen Affric area, with consequent impacts on tourism.
“The planning officer’s report is disappointingly empty of original content and repeats much of the developer’s own information. It is alarming is that it recommends consent but makes no attempt to rebut the 1,019 objections from the public and two community councils, whereas there were only 179 responses in support. On tourism it contradicts itself – stating that the impact would be negligible and the development won’t put hill users off climbing the mountains of this area yet also saying it may discourage repeat visits.
“There are existing and proposed wind farms in the vicinity at Bhlaraidh and Corrimony and to consent this development – closer than either of them to Glen Affric – would facilitate the steady march of turbines to the west. The area has high scenic value which is of international repute and popular with a wide range of visitors – not just mountaineers. If consented, the development could turn a landscape which is outstanding into something which is plain ordinary.”