Plans to build a wind farm on the southern edge of the Cairngorms National Park have been opposed as visually intrusive by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS).
The Nathro Hill wind farm, proposed by Eurowind UK Ltd for a site near Brechin, would be the largest wind farm in Angus and would affect views into the national park and from it.
This is just one of several large wind farms adjacent to the Cairngorms National Park which are currently in the planning process. Both conservation groups and the Cairngorms National Park Authority are worried that the park is being gradually encircled by windmills, and that this will have a heavy impact on one of Scotland's most prized and well protected landscapes.
The MCofS objection was lodged on the grounds that the proposed development of 17 turbines, each 143m high to the blade-tip, would have a significant adverse visual impact on the landscape setting of the Cairngorms National Park and the Deeside Area of Landscape Significance. An addendum to the plan has done nothing to address this concern.
Restating that objection this week, MCofS Chief Officer David Gibson said:
'We do not regard the addendum to the plan as overcoming our objection.'
'Turbines of the size proposed – with a string-like layout following a high ridge – would significantly detrimentally impact upon the sense of space that is intrinsic to residents’, mountaineers' and other visitors’ experience of the eastern Grampian plateaux and summits.'
The MCofS objection to the plans states that the proposed development would, if approved, be entirely contradictory to the 'local landscape character and pattern of development'. The visual impact would be significant, they say, and entirely detrimental to the setting of the National Park because of the number of turbines that would be clearly visible from viewpoints. The Deeside Area of Landscape Significance (ALS) would be seriously affected by the proposal, and the MCofS considers that the adverse impact on this ALS would be sufficient in itself to justify refusal of the proposal.
Scottish ministers are due to decide next year whether or not the project can go ahead.