PLANS for a 17-turbine windfarm on the slopes of a Munro mountain have sparked outrage in the north and Moray.
Campaigners claim the proposal for Ben Wyvis – believed to be the first for a peak over 3,000ft – shows total disregard for the “recreational and tourism value of Scotland’s mountains”.
But the developer claims the windfarm is designed to be “back dropped into the landscape”.
Falck Renewables has applied to erect 17 turbines, each 416ft high, on Clach Liath, which is part of the Ben Wyvis massif.
Last night, Bruce Morrison, chairman of Ferintosh Community Council, urged local residents and anyone living around the Inner Moray Firth to voice concerns about the proposals on the prominent peak.
He said: “Ben Wyvis is an iconic local mountain and it is important that a full debate about the pros and cons of this development is widely conducted.
“The turbines would be visible from a vast area, including the Black Isle, Inverness, the A9 south of Inverness and along the Moray coastline.”
He said polls taken with the surrounding communities have shown residents are “overwhelmingly” opposed to the development due to its visual impact.
Mr Morrison added: “Ben Wyvis has been designated as a Special Landscape Area. We believe this development to be wholly inappropriate.
“This will also be, as far as we aware, the first time a windfarm application has been submitted on the flanks of a well-known Munro.
“I would encourage all residents to respond to this application to Highland Council, whatever their view, as soon as possible. This is arguably the most significant windfarm application to date and Ferintosh Community Council stands by its view that this is a windfarm too far.”
Mr Morrison’s views are supported by mountaineer Cameron McNeish, who is horrified at the location.
He said: “This planning application for a windfarm so close to the summit of one of Scotland’s 283 Munros clearly shows the absolute disregard that energy companies have for the recreational and tourism value of Scotland’s mountains.
“I would call on the Scottish Government to draw a line under such blatant contempt and insist that future wind developments are sited well offshore.
“I believe Scotland can be a world leader in renewables – but such success should not be at the expense of our highly-valued recreational and tourism industries.”
Derek Ross, an anti-windfarm campaigner in Moray, who is fighting a development being built on Brown Muir near Rothes, said: “It is never-ending. These windfarms turn people’s lives upside down.
“You can see Ben Wyvis from Brown Muir – it’s inconceivable they are wanting to build there.
“Alex Salmond is over in America just now promoting tourism in Scotland when he would be better off staying here and getting rid of wind turbines.”