Glenmorie is ‘wrong development in the wrong place’

Trust warns that wind farm on core wild land could damage Easter Ross economy.

As a Public Local Inquiry gets underway into another Highland wind farm, the John Muir Trust criticised the development for its impact on wild land and warned that it could also have harmful long term economic consequences for Easter Ross.

The site extends into an area identified in recent mapping by  Scottish Natural Heritage as a ‘core area of wild land’ and  would also have a detrimental effect on the existing SNH ’Search Area for Wild Land’. The Trust has also flagged up the danger that this development could have a damaging effect on peat land, which is an important carbon store and habitat.

Comprising 34 turbines up to 125m high, the controversial wind farm would be visible from the designated National Scenic Area around the Dornoch Firth, and from the slopes of Ben Wyvis, a popular Munro and  Special Landscape Area. 

Earlier this year Highland Council triggered the Public Local inquiry when it voted to raise an official objection against the proposal on the grounds that it would disrupt wildlife and disfigure scenic landscapes. The John Muir Trust, which backed the council’s stance, will be represented at a pre-inquiry meeting on Monday 29 July.

John Hutchison, chairman of the Trust said: “Last week the Energy Minister Fergus Ewing threw out a wind farm proposal at Blairmore, north-west of Loch Ness, saying that green energy means building the ‘right developments in the right places’.  Glenmorie is the wrong development in the wrong place. We need a rigorous investigation that looks at all relevant information – including potential harm to the local economy should the project go ahead.”

Highland councillors have warned of  potentially adverse impacts on the region’s tourist economy – a fear that was confirmed by a recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Trust which found that over half of Scots would be ‘less likely to visit a scenic area which contains large-scale developments (e.g. commercial wind farms, quarries, pylons)’.

Helen McDade, John Muir Trust head of policy, said: “Some politicians have suggested that wind farms could be a tourist attraction. Yet polling shows that for every tourist who might be enticed into an area by the presence of wind turbines, another 25 will be deterred from visiting that same area.  There is therefore a very real risk to the local economy if the Glenmorie development goes ahead.”

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