Chris Townsend: 'great day for Cairngorms'

Chris Townsend: 'great day for Cairngorms'

Campaigners have welcomed a decision by a power company not to push for a controversial windfarm in the Highlands.

Outdoors writer and campaigner Chris Townsend said it was the final nail in the coffin for the proposals to build the turbines at Allt Duine in the Monadhliath Mountains.

Mr Townsend and fellow Save Monadhliath Mountains members welcomed the decision by RWE Innogy not to challenge the Scottish Government decision to reject the section 36 application for 31 turbines at the very edge of the Cairngorms national park.

A decision was made 12 weeks ago by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who is also Cabinet Secretary for finance, constitution and the economy.

Chris Townsend said: “After five years, the thousands of individuals and organisations who support the Save Monadhliath Mountains campaign are delighted that German-owned RWE Innogy has seen sense and sided with the overwhelming opinion against the scheme.

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

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

“This is the final nail in the Allt Duine windfarm coffin and a great day for the internationally acclaimed Cairngorms national park and the safeguarded wild land of the Monadhliath Mountains.”

The Allt Duine application was opposed by all the statutory consultees: Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Highland Council and the Kincraig and Vicinity Community Council.

In January 2015, 73 per cent of the local population voted against the proposal. Other objectors include the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, John Muir Trust, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society, Ramblers Scotland and the Glenfeshie, Kinrara and Pitmain estates.

RWE Innogy and the host estates Balavil, Dunachton, Alvie and Dalraddy, 23 per cent of the local community, supported the application.

Save Monadhliath Mountains said the turbines would be visible from 25,790ha (63,728 acres) of the Cairngorms national park, including high points such as the Ptarmigan Restaurant and popular munros within the park including Ben MacDui, Cairn Gorm and Braeriach.

The edge of the proposed Allt Duine site lay 400m from the Cairngorms national park boundary, with the first turbine just 900m away and all the turbines wholly within the Monadhliath wild land area.

Campaigners said all the associated infrastructure would have been in the Cairngorms national park itself, including 7.5km (4½ miles) of new road, up to 15m in width, cut into the park’s hills; kilometres of cabling; a cement batching plant and site reception to the temporary construction compound.

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