Lovers of the Scottish wilderness areas are being urged to back a campaign against further windfarm development.

Ben NevisThe John Muir Trust, the campaigning organisation for conservation and, among other things, owner of Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis, pictured left, is asking the public to sign up for its fight to keep the country’s wild areas free of large-scale wind-turbine developments.

Its website lists its main points:
• Wild land should be conserved for nature and people for the benefit of present and future generations;
• Developments on core wild land, such as industrial-scale wind developments, are a major threat to our rapidly diminishing wild land;
• The best renewable energy options around wild land are small-scale, sensitively sited and adjacent to the communities directly benefiting from them, where the landscape impact is minimal;
• Large wind turbines, often 120 metres high (taller than the Forth Rail Bridge) grouped in clusters of up to 100, are totally unsuitable for Scotland’s finest landscapes;
• The intrusion is not just the turbines and pylons, but includes the access roads, concrete bases, and underground cables;
• Producing energy near to where it is consumed reduces the need for giant pylons through wild and scenic areas e.g. the proposed Beauly – Denny transmission upgrade;
• A recent study suggests far more eagles are at risk from wind developments than was previously thought so their habitat must be protected;
• It would be a tragedy to sacrifice wild land to major industrial developments.
Visitors to its website can download a PDF of the support form.

The trust says its action has been prompted by a change in planning guidelines that makes windfarm development easier.

The campaign pits the trust against both the Scottish Executive, which needs to build more windfarms and Scottish Renewables, the umbrella organisation for the renewable energy industry, which last month welcomed the executive’s policy to aim for 40% of Scottish energy to be produced by renewable sources.