Glen Etive is visited by outdoor fans heading for the hills. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Glen Etive is visited by outdoor fans heading for the hills. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A conservation charity has objected to plans for three hydro-electric installations in the Highlands.

The John Muir Trust said the schemes would be an intrusion into wild land in Glen Etive.

The area, south of Glen Coe, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and falls within the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe national scenic area and a designated wild-land area. The proposed developments would also be in a special protection area.

The trust objected to the proposed schemes at Allt Ceitlein, Allt Chaorainn and Allt Mheuran, on the south-east side of the road through the glen, saying they would detract from the wild land area.

The three are part of a larger plan for seven hydro schemes in the glen submitted by the same development company.

JMT policy officer John Low said: “These hydro schemes would introduce permanent new tracks and related works into the wild land of the Glen Etive mountains.

“It’s clearly not the right place; the impact on the landscape and its scenic qualities would be significant.”

“These are areas afforded significant protection in Scottish planning policy. The fact a number of organisations, groups, and many individuals are making the case against these proposals highlights a growing call for these applications to be rejected.

“Individually and cumulatively they would have a terrible visual and physical impact on this inspirational glen that has social, ecological and cultural value.”

In its objection the trust highlighted the potential loss of the wild land characteristics, not only to hillwalkers and mountaineers, but also to visitors and the wider public, highlighting that the experience of grandeur looking at spectacular scenery from the glen road would be vastly diminished.

The Grampian Club, which owns the Inbhirfhaolain hut in Glen Etive, has also objected to the development near its property, which it said would taint the water supply to the building, making it uninhabitable.

The club, which has mountaineers, hillwalkers and climbers among its members, said its hut is hired out at a cost of just £6 per person a night. Club spokesman David Gibson said: “The proposed scheme is a direct threat to this unique, low-cost accommodation which will be uninhabitable if the scheme goes ahead.”

The John Muir Trust, which said it is committed to supporting Scottish and UK Government’s policy principles aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions reduction, also said in its objections that when combined with the other proposals for small-scale hydro schemes in the glen, the Glen Etive schemes would make a negligible contribution to those targets. The trust assessed that any potential gains being claimed are far outweighed by the loss of the wild land.

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