Renewable energy developer Force 9 Energy has applied for planning permission for 13 wind turbines of up to 136.5 metres in height (almost 450 feet), at Cnoc an Eas, north of Glen Urquhart, near Loch Ness.
The application by Force 9 – which is registered in Buckinghamshire and has an office in Glasgow – is made with EDF Energy by developer and company director David Butterworth.
But in a letter of objection to the Highland Council, urging refusal of the application, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) has highlighted four reasons why the proposal should be refused
The council say the proposed development is not needed to meet climate change targets, is of an unsuitable size and scale for the site, raises issues of cumulative impact, and would be detrimental to the image of the area that is key to its successful marketing as a tourist destination.
Referring to the developer’s planning and environmental impact statements, the MCofS letter also highlights misleading information about energy policy and says the developer has understated the effects of the development on landscape and the visual impacts and potential impacts on tourism from wind farms.
David Gibson, Chief Officer of the MCofS, said:
“It’s time to call a halt to further industrialisation of the Great Glen landscape.
“Four of the Cnoc an Eas turbines would be the highest objects between Strathglass and Loch Ness and would become the defining feature of this landscape. Taking into account existing wind farm consents, the proposed development would extend significantly northwards the western arm of the sequential wind farm landscape flanking the eastern and middle-western Great Glen.
“The MCofS recognises the need to move to a low carbon economy, but we do not believe that this has to be at the expense of our hugely valued mountain landscapes and other tourism assets.
“Any present delay in achieving targets for renewable electricity generation are from backlogs in construction, not from too few consents. Applications continue to come forward for far less damaging locations than this one, so there is no need for it.”