Ben Wyvis from the Black Isle
Falck Renewables have applied for permission to erect Clach Liath windfarm. This would put 17 turbines, each 416 feet high, on the front of the slopes of Ben Wyvis. These would dominate the view of an important part of our national heritage.
Ben Wyvis is an isolated and dominant Munro visible from a wide swathe of Northern Scotland. It is a much photographed and well loved mountain, and appears on countless calendars, cards, books etc.
The Ben Wyvis massif has been designated a Special Landscape Area. It contains a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest. The windfarm would sit right on the very boundary of these protected areas.
Ferintosh Community Council and its residents object to this proposed development and wishes to both raise awareness and stimulate the widest possible debate.
Although Ferintosh Community Council is keen to encourage a widespread debate taking account of all views, our residents’ views are starkly clear. After six separate polls over many months, for any 1 supporter here, there are 11 who oppose this development. Our mandate is therefore crystal clear and we will be very focused and energetic in presenting our opposition to this wind farm development to our politicians.
A decision about this wind farm will be taken by The Highland Council either late this year or early in 2013. We would urge anyone with a view about this wind farm, both in its relationship to Ben Wyvis and of the need to tackle climate change to inform politicians at all levels (community councils, regional councils, MSPs and MPs) of your view. We believe that this wind farm, if permitted, would set a precedent to allow other wind farms to obscure key Munros and a vigorous debate about the pros and cons is essential before THC has to make up its mind.
We’re not alone in thinking that this is the wrong place for a wind farm. Crucially Scottish Natural Heritage has lodged an objection, in the strongest terms that a public body can use namely: ‘ We consider that these [visual] impacts are of such a degree that they cannot be reasonably mitigated’. SNH is joined in objection by the Munro Society, SEPA, John Muir Trust, Scottish Wildlife Trust, NE Mountain Trust, Mountaineering Council of Scotland, Fell and Rock Climbing Club, Dingwall Business Association, four other Community Councils and hundreds of individuals outnumbering supporters by more than four to one.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland launched a manifesto this summer calling for an immediate moratorium on commercial wind farms which encroach on Scotland’s highest mountains – the Munros and Corbetts. The MCofS is calling on the Scottish Government to call a halt to such developments and develop a national spatial planning policy for onshore wind farms which protects Scotland’s internationally-renowned mountain landscapes. It is also asking the government to clearly state the proportion of energy generation which it sees coming specifically from onshore wind, a target which it has yet to declare.David Gibson, Chief Officer of MCofS, has said of Clach Liath: “This application is absolute proof of why the Scottish Government should develop more effective policies and call a complete halt to any proposals which affect Munros, Corbetts and other key sites. The Clach Liath application demonstrates that some developers will try to build anywhere, regardless of the importance of individual sites to our natural heritage. Due to its location and visibility Ben Wyvis is an iconic Munro that would be permanently disfigured and damaged by such a senseless industrial development. In the absence of a national policy for the siting of wind farms, the Highland Council bears a great responsibility for the protection of much of Scotland’s mountain landscapes. Their decision on Clach Liath could potentially determine the fate of many of Scotland’s finest mountain areas through precedent, as well as the fate of many tourism businesses as those who once sought the beauty and solace of Scotland’s mountains go elsewhere to escape our industrialised landscapes.
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