The MCofS says the Scottish Government is lacking leadership on windfarms

The MCofS says the Scottish Government is lacking leadership on windfarms

Mountaineers are calling on renewable energy companies to collaborate with them to ensure sensitive mountain areas are protected from windfarm development.

The plea from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland came as it accused the Scottish Government of a lack of leadership on the matter.

First Minister Alex Salmond was due to speak to a gathering of industry bosses today at the RenewableUK 2012 conference in Glasgow.

The MCofS, which has 11,400 members, has written to many of the companies attending the gathering.

David Gibson, MCofS chief officer, said: “We believe that Scotland could be a pioneer of green energy good practice as well as power generation, but despite this opportunity the Scottish Government is demonstrating a lamentable lack of leadership.

“Some windfarm proposals are incredibly inappropriate and are leading to the industrialisation of our most beautiful, wild and open mountain landscapes.

“Right now, as companies gather for RenewableUK 2012, a public inquiry is taking place into the truly dreadful Allt Duine scheme to build 31 immense turbines in the heart of the Monadhliath Mountains, adjacent to the Cairngorms national park, near Aviemore.

“We call on the First Minister, Alex Salmond to use his speech at RenewableUK 2012 to make a stand for Scotland’s natural heritage and to condemn industrialisation of this kind.

“VisitScotland recognises that badly sited wind farms will drive visitors away; Scottish Natural Heritage bemoans the cumulative impact they can have on the landscape, and 2013 is billed as the Year of Natural Scotland – yet Mr Salmond has done nothing to protect the mountains that are recognised internationally one of our nation’s greatest assets.

David Gibson: 'make a stand for Scotland’s natural heritage'

David Gibson: 'make a stand for Scotland’s natural heritage'

“We believe that there are many in the green energy sector who share our view that Scotland needs a clear national spatial planning policy for onshore wind farms to replace the current failed system.

“The Scottish Government must also clarify exactly how much electricity they see being generated from onshore wind. By working together we can protect our natural heritage and our tourism industry, while creating greater certainty for developers and their investors.”

The MCofS said there is a serious risk that poor practice in windfarm location will undermine public and investor confidence in the industry itself, which despite the best efforts of some companies, is demonstrating that it cannot regulate itself.

The council recently published a manifesto, Protecting our Mountains. This is backed by the 75,000-strong British Mountaineering Council, representing England and Wales, the Munro Society, the Cairngorms Campaign and the North East Mountain Trust. It calls for a moratorium on further windfarm developments in areas of special sensitivity, such as the Scotland’s highest peaks the munros and corbetts.

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