Wind plans ‘a blow to area’

A protest group has lodged a formal objection to proposals to build more than 80 turbines as tall as the London Eye on hills overlooking Loch Ness.

Supporters of the Save the Monadhliath Mountains (SMM) campaign claim proposals tabled by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) are another “blow to the sensitive landscape” of the area. But the energy giant said last night the location was an “excellent” site for the plans.

The firm has applied to erect 83 turbines on Garrogie Estate, near Fort Augustus, to the east of the Glendoe hydro scheme. The plans were scaled down from 140 turbines after a public consultation.

The Stronelairg windfarm is one of two developments for Loch Ness proposed by the energy firm.

The second, at Bhlaraidh, north-west of Invermoriston, has been reduced from 138 to 36 turbines.

Chris Townsend, spokesman for the campaign and president of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: “The Stronelairg windfarm would represent another blow to the sensitive landscape of the Monadhliath Mountains and the Cairngorms National Park’s special qualities.

“The SMM campaign opposes the proposal on the basis that this scheme, alongside Allt Duine, would represent a step change in the cumulative effect of windfarms on the western and northern sides of the national park.”

He added the group had also objected because of the cumulative effect on tourism.

An SSE spokeswoman said: “We believe that the site is excellent, particularly because it utilises the infrastructure in place for Glendoe.”