Loch Shin. Photo: Dr EH Mackay CC-BY-SA-2.0

Loch Shin. Photo: Dr EH Mackay CC-BY-SA-2.0

The head of Scotland’s mountaineering representative body appealed to its members to stand up and be counted in opposing a windfarm development.

Brian Linington, president of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland appealed to the organisation’s 10,500 members to write and object to plans by a German company to build 22 turbines in a remote Highland area.

WKN Windkraft Nord has submitted an application to build the windfarm near Loch Shin, the largest loch in Sutherland. But the MCofS said the turbines would be visible from many mountains in the North-West of Scotland, including Ben More Assynt, Ben Hop, Arkle and Quinag.

Mr Linington said: “I am appealing to you as clubs, members of clubs and individual members to stand up and be counted.

“The last membership survey indicated that the overwhelming majority of our membership considered that our work on landscape-related issues is highly important.”

He said, with limited resources, the MCofS was concentrating its efforts on opposing windfarm proposals likely to have the most significant impact on the wilderness and upland landscapes.

Ron Payne, the MCofS director of landscape and access said the Sallachy area where WKN Windkraft Nord wants to put up the turbines is surrounded by national scenic areas, special landscape areas and remote landscape of value for recreation.

He said members should write the objection in their own words. Deadline for submissions is 15 February.

WKN Windkraft Nord said it had chosen the site to take advantage of the strong wind resource found on the slopes above Loch Shin as well as the proximity to the existing Glencassley hydro power station and the supporting infrastructure.

It said it received a number of responses to its scoping report, calling attention to particular sensitivities such as the peat depth, buffer zones to ecological areas and the visual impact from a range of viewpoints.

WKN said its surveys were adapted in response. The company said it had listened carefully to the views of the local community in preparing its environmental impact assessment.

The MCofS said it is not against renewable energy developments and is, in fact, in favour of renewable energy and supportive of the Government agenda, but only where such developments have limited or zero visual impact on the upland landscape.

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