Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Trustee speaks out on controversial windfarm development

Mountaineer, broadcaster and Wilderness Foundation UK Trustee Cameron McNeish has spoken out against the controversial wind farm proposal being considered for the Glencanisp and Drumrunie Estates in the picturesque Sutherland and Wester Ross regions of Scotland.

Quoted in The Scotsman on Tuesday 3rd July, Cameron said:

"[This windfarm proposal] could set a precedent and result in the finest part of Britain being spoiled and could harm tourism in the area"
The proposed development has caused controversy, not least because the area of land where it would be located (which includes the Suilven, Canisp, Cul Mor and Cul Beag mountains) was acquired last year by The Assynt Foundation, with the Scottish Land Fund contributing £1.6 million to the purchase and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise awarded £605,000. The community raised £15,000 with the John Muir Trust, a registered Scottish charity dedicated to protecting wild land contributed an initial £50,000 with a further £15,000 per year being made available for the next five years to manage the land.

The John Muir Trust representative on the board of the Assynt Foundation has withdrawn for a year while the proposal is being considered, thus giving the Trust the ability to speak freely on the subject.

The local community is divided on the development, with some sighting projected employment and income from power generation as being a means to revitalise the area, however others feel that the previously unspoilt scenery would be ruined by the erection of between one and six wind turbines.

The fate of the development is to be decided by a secret ballot.

The Wilderness Foundation UK continues to highlight the urgent need to reassess the development of onshore windfarms as a renewable source of energy.

We will bring you further news on this development as it happens.

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