A new fisheries body launched by the Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has warned a proliferation of windfarms proposed for a fragile Highland beauty spot could destroy the local environment and its lifeline tourism.
The Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust, formed last month, has echoed environmentalists and more than 1,200 objectors to plans for at least 100 giant turbines at seven windfarms close to Lochindorb on the Dava Moor, between Nairn and Grantown.
The trust was established to help preserve native fish stocks through improved river habitat and water quality.
Its chairman Major General Seymour Monro said: “We are concerned that any development, be it windfarms, forestry or any other, might have an adverse effect on burns and rivers.
“We are not an anti-windfarm organisation. We judge any development on its merits having taken scientific advice.”
Raising the issue yesterday with visiting Tory Scottish Euro MP Struan Stevenson, Maj Gen Monro said fisheries organisations were particularly concerned about large-scale development which may affect water courses through the removal of peat or disturbance of silt affecting the water.
He added: “We need to be involved in the discussion loop – and sometimes the fisheries board, for example, has not been in the past – by such organisations as Sepa.
“The developers need to take cognisance of what are concerns are and either mitigate those concerns or help us monitor whatever they are doing, and some developers are not good at that.”
Mr Stevenson, president of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Intergroup in the European Parliament, has warned that constructing windfarms on ancient peat bog such as the Dava risks a “massive release” of naturally stored COinto the atmosphere, making a nonsense of the so-called “green energy” technology.
He told a gathering of windfarm objectors in Grantown yesterday that irresponsible positioning of turbines was “a corruption of the fight against climate change”. He said one of the proposed Dava schemes, at Dunearn on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, would destroy much of a native Caledonian pine woodland planted at a cost to the taxpayer of £250,000.