A CALL has been made to extend the UK's biggest national park for a second time to stop large wind-farm developments close to its boundaries.
Ramblers Scotland said the boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park should be increased to the west to block wind farms currently under consideration in the Monadhliath Mountains between the A9 and Loch Ness.
The park, created 10 years ago, was extended in 2010 to take in parts of Highland Perthshire. The park's area was increased by 20%, and it now covers almost 6% of Scotland.
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Dave Morris, director of Ramblers Scotland, said it was now clear the western boundary of the national park was far too close to the central part of the Cairngorms massif.
He said this was the finest example in the UK of truly wild, unspoilt mountain landscape, akin to the wilderness areas of northern Scandinavia.
"How can we possibly compromise the integrity of this national park by allowing wind farms, such as the Stronelairg and Allt Duine proposals [a total of 98 turbines] , to be built close to its western boundary?" he said.
Meanwhile, four charities are trying to raise £30,000 to pay for legal costs in an action against the park authority's plan for 1500 new homes near Aviemore, plus 117 at Carrbridge, 300 at Kingussie and 40 at Nethy Bridge.
In September, the Court of Session rejected their challenges, but the charities are appealing and there will be a hearing on March 12.
Craig Macadam, a director of one of the groups, Buglife, said: "To consider developing on these sites without proper assessment of the potential adverse impacts on wildlife is unacceptable."
lA new chief executive today takes over at the Cairngorms National Park Authority. Grant Moir was previously director of conservation and visitor experience at Scotland's only other national park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.