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Cairngorms National Park Authority objects to Monadhliaths wind farm

By Gavin Musgrove

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The Cairngorms National Park Authority is making a formal objection to plans for a wind farm in the Monadhliaths which could form with others to create a huge expanse of turbines.

The Scottish Government Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently carrying out a consultation on the Cloiche wind farm proposed by SSE Generation.

The 36 turbines divided into two sites would be in close proximity to SSE's existing Stronelairg wind farm – which has 66 turbines – and also SIMEC's proposed Glenshero wind farm for up to 39 turbines some eight kilometres north west of Laggan.

Cloiche windfarm to the west which is proposed by Stronelarig and Glenshero which is also in the planning pipeline.
Cloiche windfarm to the west which is proposed by Stronelarig and Glenshero which is also in the planning pipeline.

The proposed Cloiche development would comprise 36 turbines with a maximum height of 149.9m to the tip of the blade in an upright position.

There would be eight turbines in the eastern cluster and 28 in the western cluster as well as around 29 kilometres of upgraded existing track and 26 kilometres of new track, a substation, underground cabling, borrow pits and other infrastructure and works.

It is expected that the wind farm would have an estimated total capacity of around 150MW.

The nearest turbine of the eastern cluster would be around 1.4 km to the north of the closest part of the boundary of the national park.

CNPA planners said the proposed wind farm would 'diminish the perceived vastness of space and scale' and give rise to 'the presence of incongruous human-made vertical structures both in front of and over the horizon'.

Nina Caudrey, CNPA planning officer, told the latest online CNPA planning meeting: "The Monadhliaths area to the north-west of the park boundary already experiences effects from existing and consented wind farms."

She had recommended CNPA planning committee members objected to the energy scheme because of the visual impact it would have on views from within the national park especially when combined with the Stronelairg turbines.

CNPA planning committee member Peter Argyle.
CNPA planning committee member Peter Argyle.

Planning committee member Peter Argyle said: "I am very content with the recommendation.

"The test that I always have in mind is one that the previous head of planning at Aberdeenshire Council used – whether we have a landscape with turbines or a landscape of turbines.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this particular application would take us into a landscape of turbines which is not what we want to see."

NatureScot – previously Scottish Natural Heritage – provided advice on the potential effects of Cloiche in combination with existing and consented wind farms.

They stated: "Existing and consented wind farms across the Monadhliaths have significantly affected nationally important landscapes including the national park, intensifying the existing developed character of this part of the rolling uplands of the Monadhliaths.

"In relation to the park, Cloiche would significantly add to these effects."

The Scottish Government is the determining authority for the Cloiche wind farm application as the output is more than 50MW.

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