The proposed site of the Allt Duine windfarm. Photo: Richard Webb CC-BY-SA-2.0

The proposed site of the Allt Duine windfarm. Photo: Richard Webb CC-BY-SA-2.0

A planning hearing into the proposed building of 31 wind turbines in the Highlands has been postponed.

Highland Council will not now consider the plans for the Allt Duine development in the Monadhliath Mountains next week.

And a planned demonstration outside the council’s Inverness offices has been put off.

The Save the Monadhliath Mountains campaign group said it noted, ‘with some concern’ the postponement and urged councillors to visit the site, 8km (5 miles) west of Aviemore, to see for themselves whether such a development is appropriate for what the group says is an important area of wild land and outstanding natural beauty.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority, the John Muir Trust, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, Scottish Campaign for National Parks and local estates have all objected to the plans.

Jon Perkins of the SMM group said “We’ve only just found out [the application] is not on the agenda for this month’s meeting, but is likely to be heard at the December, January or February meeting.”

He said the group was standing down for now the demonstration planned to take place outside the council headquarters on 8 November.

Writer and journalist Chris Townsend, who lives in the Cairngorms national park and supports the SMM campaign, said: “Backed by over 1,000 supporters, we believe that the strength of public feeling against the application should be recognised by Highland Council with an objection.

“The SMM campaign hopes that the councillors will take this opportunity to pause and reflect on whether the Allt Duine wind farm proposal, in an area that the council wishes to protect, is appropriate.

“We hope that the council is not in negotiation with the applicant.

“Allt Duine is one of 11 wind farms being developed in and around the national park and we believe there is a line in the sand and this is it – this proposal is a step too far. 31 turbines, the majority of which are a massive 410ft [125m] in height, are completely inappropriate for a wild area of outstanding natural beauty.

“The construction and operation of the turbines will have an irrevocable impact on the landscape, wildlife and ornithology of the area.”

Writer and broadcaster, Cameron McNeish and John Muir Trust chief executive Stuart Brooks are also backing the campaign against the development by Swindon-based RWE npower renewables, which has also made an application to the Scottish Government under the Electricity Act 1989 to build the windfarm.

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