Highland cooncillors** will make a site visit before determining whether to approve Culachy Wind Farm tomorrow (11 Dec 2015) – but ahead of the visit the Mountaineering Council of Scotland is today urging them to reject the application.
The Mountaineers claim the proposal for 13 turbines up to 150m high (nearly the height of the Forth Road Bridge towers and more than twice the height of the highest Beauly-Denny electricity pylons) would destroy the quiet setting of the historic 18th century road descending from the Corrieyairack Pass to Fort Augustus.
The 2,500-ft high pass almost became the site of a major battle in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, when Prince Charles (Stuart) – the blood-heir descendant of the last (Scots) Clan Stuart monarch of the United Kingdom – encamped at the height of the pass.
The commander of the forces of the by- then enthroned Hanoverian king approached from the south to quell the rebellion but then retreated due to the strongly entrenched position of the Jacobite forces.
In addition, there are seven Munros and Corbetts within 10 miles of the proposed development. For five of these, Culachy is the closest proposed wind farm. It would be sited in a Wild Land Area, which the applicants have previously lobbied unsuccessfully to have redrawn to exclude the development site.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) consider that the western Monadhliath already has more than its share of consented wind farms, most of which are not yet operational:
David Gibson, Chief Executive, of the Mountaineering Council, said: “Highlands Council and Scottish Government have an opportunity here.
“Last week’s overturning of the consent for Stronelairg Wind Farm after a judicial review – bravely brought by the John Muir Trust – means the south-western Monadhliath could still avoid becoming part of the strung-out wind farm landscape that the north-western Monadliath is destined to become for the next 30 years.
“If that is to become reality, the current applications for wind farms at Culachy and Dell must be turned down.”
“With the Paris climate talks ongoing, we are all very aware of the need to reduce emissions and in general to tread more lightly upon the earth. That doesn’t justify building wind farms in the wrong places and accordingly we are calling on Highlands councillors to reject the Culachy Wind Farm application.
“The south-western Monadhliath deserve better than to be converted into an industrial site for the sake of a scheme that would produce barely 0.25% of Scotland’s electricity.”
** ‘Cooncil’ is the Scots language word for ‘council’ and is not pejorative:
Dictionar o’ the Scots Leid / Dictionary of the Scots Language – http://goo.gl/7xo5Bk