First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to the MCofS. Photo: Scottish Government

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to the MCofS. Photo: Scottish Government

Outdoor campaigners have made a direct appeal to Scotland’s First Minister to throw out plans for a controversial windfarm.

Four different organisations have written to Nicola Sturgeon urging her to intervene in the battle to prevent the construction of the Allt Duine development.

A decision by the Scottish Government is due soon on the proposed windfarm in the Monadhliath Mountains.

Ms Sturgeon, widely acknowledged as having the most successful campaign of party leaders during the recent general election, wrote to the Mountaineering Council of Scotland president Brian Linington in April outlining her views on the protection of wild land.

In it, she said: “The SNP Scottish Government recognises wild land as a nationally important asset. We want to work with, not against, our environment to maintain and further strengthen its contribution to society.”

Ms Sturgeon went on to note that the new national planning framework offers additional protection to wild land outside national parks and national scenic areas. Development, she said, would ‘only be acceptable if any significant effects on the qualities of these areas can be substantially overcome by siting, design or other mitigation’.

Now, four organisations have written to the First Minister urging rejection of the Allt Duine proposals. Stuart Brooks of the John Muir Trust; the MCofS’s Brian Linington; Jess Dolan, director of Ramblers Scotland; and Chris Townsend, spokesman, for Save Monadhliath Mountains campaign, have signed the open letter.

It said: “Your letter to the Mountaineering Council of Scotland was deeply heartening for the future safeguarding of wild land, national parks and national scenic areas from the visual and physical intrusion by onshore wind farm development.

“Although there are a number of windfarm applications in the planning system that impact Scotland’s safeguarded wild land resource – Stronelairg, Glenmorie, Carn Gorm, Glencassley, Sallachy, Limekiln, Strathy Wood, Strathy South, Caplich and Creag Rhiabach – the proposed Allt Duine wind farm in [Scottish Natural Heritage]’s wild land map 20 is the longest awaited decision, with the public inquiry finishing some 30 ago.

The proposed site of the Allt Duine windfarm. Photo: Chris Townsend

The proposed site of the Allt Duine windfarm. Photo: Chris Townsend

“It is simply the wrong development in the wrong place.

“If approved, the Perth-size power station would be visible from the Cairngorms national scenic area and 25,790ha of the Cairngorms national park, with the first turbine 900m from the boundary, and with all the associated infrastructure in the park itself – ie 7.5km of new road up to 15m in width, kilometres of cabling, a cement batching plant, buildings.

“Your leadership has galvanised Scotland. With that same energy, I hope you and your ministerial colleagues will protect the Cairngorms national park – an internationally acclaimed natural resource and symbol of Scotland – the national scenic area and the wild land area.

“The 10,600 signatories to MCofS’s petition demonstrates the demand for wild land to be protected and government decisions need to show that last year’s planning changes are meaningful.

“In the words of your letter of 16 April to the MCofS, our organisations believe that these national assets are worth respecting and enhancing as valuable environmental and economic resources.”

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

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  2. Mountaineers tell Nicola Sturgeon: stop windfarms on wild lands
  3. Chris Townsend: power firm’s decision marks final nail in coffin for Allt Duine
  4. Outdoor groups say: quiz election candidates on wild land
  5. Controversial Highland windfarm hearing postponed