Ramblers Scotland has objected to a proposal to construct a 24-turbine wind farm at Talladh-a-Bheithe on Rannoch Moor, between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht. The turbines, at 125m in height to the blade tip, would be visible from such iconic mountains as Ben Alder and Schiehallion, and also from the main route through the Highlands, the A82, as it heads towards Glencoe.
While in principle we’re supportive of renewable energy, we’ve objected to this scheme on the grounds of its significant negative impacts on the landscape, which is of national importance to recreation interests, and in particular on a core area of wild land, as identified by Scottish Natural Heritage. We believe this development goes against national and local planning policy, and the impacts of this proposal in this location would be very significant, and could not be mitigated against in any effective way.
We accept that the area is not devoid of any signs of human impact but the development of, for example, hill tracks and plantation forestry, are on a different scale to this proposal which would be a huge intrusion of an industrial character into a large tract of wild land. It’s not an extension of an existing wind farm development, but is isolated, lying 35km in distance from the closest wind farm and therefore would be particularly striking, both in terms of the turbines and also the many miles of access roads which would need to be constructed.
We believe the approval of this wind farm would set a precedent which would undermine the Scottish Government’s own policy guidance on wild land protection and would risk losing public support for renewable energy more widely.
This area is very important for recreation, and there are numerous Munros, Corbetts and other hills nearby which attract walkers and mountaineers, especially given their proximity to centres of population in the Central Belt. We believe that if this wind farm were to be given consent, it would massively impact on the enjoyment of people visiting the Rannoch and Ericht areas, with a subsequent impact on the businesses and communities in the area which currently benefit from tourism expenditure. Tourism in areas such as this depends on the maintenance of a reputation for unspoilt, natural beauty which would be seriously impaired by the proposed development.