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Withdrawal of Torridon mobile phone mast plan welcomed by major charity

By Ally Tibbitt

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A mobile phone mast similar to this could have been sited in Torridon.
A mobile phone mast similar to this could have been sited in Torridon.

The National Trust for Scotland has welcomed the withdrawal of a planning application that would have seen a 25m high mobile phone mast built in one of the most scenic parts of Scotland.

The controversial planning application would have seen a mast in the Coire Mhic Nobuil, Torridon, in the midst of the Torridon National Scenic Area.

In an objection made to Highland Council’s Planning Department, the National Trust for Scotland said that it would: “significantly impact on the character of the landscape and undermine people’s experience and enjoyment of it.”

“Any structure would be highly visible not only to those walking throughout most of Coire Mhic Nobuil but also from the ridges and peaks of the most iconic hills in the area including Ben Alligin, the Horns of Alligin, Liathach, West Beinn Eighe range, Sail Mhor and Conneach Mhor,” they added.

Following a campaign by mountaineering and environment groups, the planning application attracted over 100 comments, some from as far afield as London, South Wales and Cornwall - with council officials rating only one as supportive.

Several local residents said in their objections that the government-funded developers should do more to consult with people living in the area before tabling proposals.

In addition to objecting to the mast itself, many were critical of the proposed mast because it would also need a track for supplies and maintenance.

National Trust for Scotland’s Upland Path Manager Bob Brown has been working since 1999 as part of a 130-strong team to restore 14km of path through Torridon.

Speaking before the planning application was withdrawn, he said that they have worked during the years to make sure that the path was as “sensitively designed as possible, to ensure that the site retains its wild sense.”

But the required access track would have made all the work “pointless” he said.

The developer responsible for the planning application did not respond to our request for comment.

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