The proposed super resort at Dall Estate in Rannoch, Perthshire could cause significant damage to an internationally important nature site, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has warned.
In its response to Perth and Kinross Council, SNH says the development would have a negative impact on Scotland’s ancient Caledonian pine woodlands and will significantly detract from the quality and character of the nationally important landscape of Loch Rannoch.
The proposed development includes a luxury hotel with health spa, clinic, leisure and retail facilities, two 18-hole golf courses, a clubhouse, over 100 houses, staff accommodation, and a restaurant within Loch Rannoch.
It would be very close to a number of special areas of nature conservation, including the fourth largest Caledonian pine wood in Scotland, the Black Wood of Rannoch. In Europe, this type of forest occurs only in Scotland and only on an estimated 12,000 to 16,000 hectares.
At over 1100 hectares in size, the Black Wood of Rannoch is recognised as one of the top wildlife sites in Europe. The proposal to convert 382 hectares of pine forest which border the Black Wood of Rannoch to create two golf courses is likely to affect the long-term vitality of the forest as whole, as well as the animals and plants it supports.
The long glen, with the distant backdrop of mountains in the Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor areas together with Loch Rannoch and the pine forests, all combine to make this a spectacular Scottish landscape – so special that it is designated as a National Scenic Area.
SNH is of the view that the proposal – including converting 382 hectares of existing pine forest and replacing it with golf courses, constructing a large restaurant within the loch, and building loch-side houses – will significantly detract from the quality and character of the landscape of Loch Rannoch. The organisation says that the scale, site and design of the proposal are inappropriate in this sensitive location.
Denise Reed, SNH area manager, said, “The design and scale of this development would be out of place in its surroundings and could have far-reaching and harmful impacts on a part of Scotland renowned for its iconic and dramatic scenery. Ancient Caledonian pine woods are only present in Scotland, and it is crucial for SNH and others to ensure their long-term future. We are very concerned that this proposal could compromise this protected and unique area.”
More information about the proposal and the local campaign against it can be found at the local community website, Rannochforall.