A RESPECTED mountaineer and broadcaster has added his voice to the growing opposition against a planned wind farm below Ben Wyvis.
Coriolis Energy LLP is seeking planning permission on behalf of Falck Renewables Wind Limited to build seventeen 126.5-metre turbines to form Clach Liath Wind Farm.
Ferintosh Community Council has already publicly denounced the proposal as a "wind farm too far", claiming it will complete an arc of turbines around the mountain, with two existing schemes, which will dominate the views of Ben Wyvis.
The company behind the development, which would cover 412 hectares and be complete by 2014, say the site at Swordale Moor near Evanton is a "good location" for a wind farm.
However, Cameron McNeish, well-known mountaineer, writer and broadcaster has backed Ferintosh Community Council’s opposition to a proposed windfarm, on the slopes of Ben Wyvis.
Commenting on the plans Mr McNeish said: "This planning application for a wind farm so close to the summit of one of Scotland’s 283 Munros clearly shows the absolute disregard that energy companies have for the recreational and tourism value of Scotland’s mountains.
"I would call on the Scottish Government to draw a line under such blatant contempt and insist that future wind developments are sited well offshore. I believe Scotland can be a world leader in marine renewables but such success should not be at the expense of our highly valued recreational and tourism industries."
The community council believe the turbines would dominate the views of Ben Wyvis from a wide area and bring about a "dramatic and unwanted change to the local landscape".
Bruce Morrison, chair of the community council said: "We really appreciate having the support of Cameron over this issue and mirror his concerns regarding tourism. We have conducted polls in our local community and there is overwhelming opposition to this development on one of the Highlands’ most iconic mountains.
"If it goes ahead this will the most prominent windfarm yet to be erected in the Highlands, which will be visible from the A9 south of Inverness, Inverness, the Black Isle and as far away as Castle Stuart Golf Course."
The closing date for comments is next Friday and Mr Morrision is urging everyone in the area to register their views.
"We stand by our view that this remains a windfarm too far," he said.
Falck’s application is for 17 turbines and access tracks, borrow pits, substation, officer, control building and masts at land east of Meall Na Speireig.
The company’s non-technical summary of the proposal states the wind farm would have a significant impact on the view of Ben Wyvis from the Black Isle and from seven other viewpoints around the area, however an assessment has found there would be "clear separation" between it and the wind farms at Novar and Fairburn.
A spokeswoman for the company has previously said that the site lies outside the Special Landscape Area, is not near houses and has been designed to sit well in the form of the landscape when viewed from the south.