The slopes of Beinn Mhòr, looking towards the hills of Affric. Photo: Tom Richardson CC-BY-SA-2.0

The slopes of Beinn Mhòr, looking towards the hills of Affric. Photo: Tom Richardson CC-BY-SA-2.0

Campaigners have welcomed the decision to turn down plans for a windfarm near Glen Affric.

Both the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the John Muir Trust had opposed the proposed development on Beinn Mhòr.

The Reporter appointed after Highland Council failed to make a decision on German firm wpd’s plan for six turbines at Guisachan, near the village of Cannich.

MCofS chief officer David Gibson said: “This is positive news for Scotland’s wild land.

“We welcome the Reporter’s decision to dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission, particularly his recognition that the safeguarding of wild land is a significant national objective.

“We are also pleased that he has accepted that this development would have had a serious adverse effect on the enjoyment of the wild land character of the area by recreational users.”

In a 38-page report explaining his reasons for the decision, the Reporter said the enjoyment of people walking along the mountains on the northern periphery of Glen Affric, a national scenic area, would be seriously affected.

He noted that many of the objections to the proposal contained ‘passionate arguments’ about the importance of this asset for recreational visitors, tourism, and as part of Scotland’s national heritage.

The Reporter concluded: “The very modest contribution that would be made to renewable energy generation falls well short of justifying acceptance of the various significant adverse effects that would be caused to local residents, recreation visitors, the visual and wild land qualities of the ridge along the north side of Glen Affric and on Beinn Mhòr itself.”

Two local community councils and more than 1,000 members of the public expressed their opposition.

Helen McDade, head of policy for the John Muir Trust, said: “We warmly welcome this decision, which is a victory not just for those local communities who have campaigned strongly against the proposal, but also those of us who believe Scotland’s wild land is a precious national asset worthy of protection.

“It is significant that a substantial section of the decision focuses on wild land protection.

“We would now urge the Scottish Government to move swiftly to reject three other outstanding applications for much larger developments on wild land areas at Sallachy and Glencassley in Sutherland, and at Allt Duine on the edge of the Cairngorms national park.”

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