Another big windfarm for the Monadhliath?

Power company RWE npower renewables has applied to the Highland Council for permission to build a major windfarm in the Monadhliath Mountains about 8km northeast of Kingussie and a similar distance from Aviemore.

Coming soon to this view?, 157 kb
Coming soon to this view?
© Dan Bailey

The latest proposal follows recent government approval for the huge and highly controversial windfarm project on a nearby site at Dunmaglass to be built by rival firm RES - see last month's story on UKH.

RWE npower's Allt Duine proposal is for 31 wind turbines, each 125 metres high, on an elevated site less than a mile from the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. The windfarm would occupy an area of about 507 hectares extending from close to Carn an Fhreiceadain, the popular Corbett above Kingussie, to the hills above Kincraig.

'The site, which spans across the estates of Balavil, Dunachton, Alvie and Dalraddy, is within the Highland Council's preferred area of development for renewable energy' said the company on its website. 'It is anticipated that a scheme with a generation capacity greater than 50MW would be accomodated on the site.'

'Consultation with members of the public, community councils and organisations including the Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Cairngorms National Park Authority and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has helped to shape the design and development of the proposed windfarm. With results obtained from a wide range of studies and feedback from public and statutory consultees the design of the windfarm has now been reduced from 34 to 31 turbines with a maximum height to blade tip of 125 metres.' they told local media recently.

Given the sensitivity of the proposed site and the number of projects already tabled for the area not everyone will be satisfied by those concessions, and Allt Duine is likely to prove contentious.

'In anybody's eyes this is an enormous and potentially devastating development that will completely change the wild open character of this part of the Monadh Liath and dominate all the fantastic long views north from the Cairngorm summits' said local hillwalker and broadcaster Cameron McNeish in a recent blog. 'The fact that it will lie so close to the National Park boundary surely makes it completely unacceptable. This follows hard on the [heels] of the announcement about the giant Dunmaglass windfarm a few miles to the north.'

A consultation took place in September last year when 2,500 newsletters and questionnaires were sent out to homes within a six-mile radius of the site. The company's plans are now on display at the Highland Council office in Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, and at Kincraig Post Office, Badenoch Library and Learning Centre and Aviemore Library. Interested parties have until 13th April to register their views at this stage. Because of the scale of the proposal any final decision is likely to end up with the Scottish Government.

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