Perhaps the most egregious wind farm proposal current in Scotland is SSE's plan to erect 67 wind turbines high on the plateau of the southern Monadh Liath, adjoining its Glen Doe hydro scheme. The scaled-back Stronelairg proposal, which was originally for a mind-boggling 83 turbines, was passed by Highland Council in April 2013 despite objections across the board from conservation and outdoors bodies, and despite the fact it lies largely within an area identified by Scottish Natural Heritage as core wild land. If this development goes ahead it will see a vast area of fragile high peat moorland, frequented by golden eagles, sacrificed to wind turbines and access tracks.
Thankfully the fight to defend the Monadh Liath is not yet over. The John Muir Trust has lodged a legal petition for a judicial review of the decision of Highland
Council to conditionally raise no
objection to the proposal. Although the Scottish Government has tended to rule in favour of large wind farm developments, there is a burgeoning backlash: the more wind farms are mooted, the more the objections flood in. With pressure growing on the Government, maybe the JMT are in with a chance here.
To those with zero imagination and even less inclination to pack a tent and sleeping bag and head into the hills, the rolling expanse of the Monadh Liath would definitely qualify for the acronym 'MAMBA' ('Miles and Miles of Bugger All'), a big empty space that we should be grateful a use has been found for. Sadly these philistinic attitudes are all too prevalent amongst developers and politicians, and as a consequence precious places are slated for desecration.
Long live the Monadh Liath. Its interior is still on my list.