A CONSULTANT for the Cairngorm National Park Authority told the Dava Moor windfarms inquiry yesterday that turbines would be visible from some of the most “iconic and sensitive” high ground in Scotland.
Two developers are trying to secure permission to build a total of 43 turbines, each 360ft tall, on hills overlooking Dava Moor, on the edge of the national park, despite the plans being rejected by councillors and gathering more than 2,000 objections.
Green energy firm Eurus Energy wants to instal 26 turbines at Glenkirk, overlooking Lochindorb, while Infinergy has applied to build a 17-turbine windfarm at nearby Tom nan Clach.
Regarding the Glenkirk application, park authority consultant landscape architect Nicholas James told the inquiry: “The turbines would be visible from some of the most sensitive and iconic areas of high ground in Scotland, recognised by the National Park and National Scenic Area designations, and would conflict with the wildness and remoteness that are central to the experience of these landscapes.”
He said the turbines would be visible from 11 summits in the area at a distance of 21 miles and under, including five Munros – Cairn Gorm, Bynack More, Ben Macdui, Braeriach and Sgor Gaoith.
Solicitor for Eurus Energy Niall Innes put it to Mr James that the windfarm was only visible from many of these summits under good viewing conditions unless a person specifically looked for it.
He replied: “No, my eye would be drawn to it. You’ve got the movement of the blades and you’ve got the colour contrast of the lighter turbines against the dark moorland.”
Highland Council planning officer David Mudie also told the inquiry the Glenkirk windfarm would create a new focal point in the landscape.
He said the design conflicted with guidance in the area landscape character assessment as, rather than being simple in design, it was a “sprawl” that would be “over-dominant”. Mr Mudie added: “I am of the view that the design of the windfarm does not take into account the open and remote characteristics of the landscape.”
The planning officer said the turbines would have a significant and adverse impact on the landscape from a number of viewpoints, including the Shore Road at Lochindorb and the A939 at Ferness.
Both Mr Mudie and Mr James said the Glenkirk plan was more visible than the Tom Nan Clach windfarm.
Consultant for Eurus Energy, Niall Olds, previously told the inquiry he believed the Glenkirk windfarm was an appropriate proposal and design for the area.
The inquiry continues today with site visits to the viewpoints at Lochindorb and Dava.