The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is objecting to plans for a windfarm on the Park’s doorstep.
The 34-turbine development at Glenkirk, Tomatin is considered inappropriate on the grounds of unacceptable visual impact and the potential negative effect on the area’s tourism sector. The CNPA has also raised concerns in relation to the impact on protected species such as golden eagles.
Eurus Energy Limited has lodged a planning application with the Scottish Executive for the 34-turbine windfarm, with the closest tower being just 380 metres from the Park boundary. Highland Council has formally sought the CNPA’s views on the development due to project’s proximity to the Park.
A report on the proposed development was presented to CNPA’s planning committee in Grantown on Friday (16 December), where the recommendation to object to the windfarm was endorsed by members of the committee.
Speaking at the meeting, Planning Officer, Andrew Tait said: “We consider the development to be contrary to National, Highland and CNPA planning policy as well as three of the four aims of the Cairngorms National Park. Although this development is not in the Park, we believe that the aims of the Park should not stop dead at the boundary as marked on the map, but ideally should be considered beyond the invisible line.
“If given the go-ahead, this windfarm will be well within 400 metres of the Park boundary and the most visible windfarm from the National Park. As such, the proposal has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for further windfarms to be located in such close proximity to the boundaries of a nationally and internationally recognised landscape.”
Planning committee member Richard Stroud said: “Windfarms outwith the Park boundary can still be visible from the Park and will impact on the landscape and people’s enjoyment of the area. While the Park Authority supports renewable energy initiatives, smaller more community based projects are considered more appropriate for an area which has been designated a National Park for the beauty of its landscape and rich variety of wildlife.”
The CNPA submitted formal objections to two other proposed windfarms on the periphery of the Park earlier this year. A 36-turbine windfarm at Dunmaglass in Strathnairn and an 11-turbine development at the Hill of Snowy Slack near Kildrummy were deemed inappropriate.
To access this planning paper in full please go to: www.cairngorms.co.uk/planning/papers