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Munro windfarm plan raises objections

Posted 25 June 2012
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Munro windfarm plan raises objections
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The issue of onshore windfarms has always been a controversial one, with opponents raising a range of arguments - from the aesthetic to the pseudoscientific - against them.

It is the former that has particularly resonated with lovers of Scotland's mountains. Unlike in England and Wales, most of these lie outside national parks and the lack of environmental protection they face could leave many facing the prospect of having their lofty wildernesses turned into energy factories, something many of those who like to go walking in such places to get away from it all will not appreciate.

These visual objections may intensify after the latest development. Earlier this month the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS) published its Manifesto on Onshore Windfarms, in which it said there should be a clear ban on building any turbines on Munros or Corbetts.

Yet now the MCoS has had to raise an objection to exactly such a development. Ben Wyvis in Easter Ross stands at 3,432 ft and is within easy reach of Inverness. Yet a windfarm is proposed for its slopes.

Director of landscape and access at the Council Ron Payne said: "Ben Wyvis is an iconic Munro that would be permanently disfigured and damaged by such a senseless industrial development. This is the wrong place for a wind farm and the MCofS urges Highland Council to reject the application."

What some would see as the desecration of a Munro may bring matters to a head. If one of the elite peaks of Scotland falls under the spell of the turbines, it may be argued that few peaks are safe. Its neighbour Little Wyvis, which at 2,508 ft just about makes Corbett status, could conceivably be next.

However, the Highland Council may be less than willing to back the plan. It recently voted against the proposed Allt Duine proposal near Aviemore for which the Save the Monadhliath Mountains was formed.

That particular plan was unusual in that, while not inside a national park, it came within 400 yards of the Cairngorms boundary. But it also avoided any of the range's Munros. Yet despite this - and few would climb peaks like Carn Sgulain for any reason than its 3,018 ft height and consequent place on the tick list - it was clear that a particular nerve had been hit by that plan. The Ben Wyvis proposal may do likewise.