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Campaigners call for wind farm plans to be abandoned

CAMPAIGNERS are calling on developers planning a wind farm near the Cairngorms National Park to abandon the project.

The Save Monadhliath Mountains (SMM) group welcomed last week's decision by SSE to drop its plans for a 27-turbine wind farm at Dalnessie near Lairg in Sutherland and a 12-turbine extension to the existing Fairburn wind farm in Easter Ross. SSE said it was because investment was no longer financially viable.

Now SMM is calling on RWE Innogy UK Ltd to follow suit by withdrawing the 31-turbine proposal at Allt Duine, where the closest turbine would be less than a mile from the Cairngorms National Park boundaries. Ramblers Scotland also backed the call for the development to be abandoned.

SMM spokesman Chris Townsend said: "Though RWE never tire of trying, it is not credible to argue that the wind farm's impact on the park can be overcome. The cabling, roads and turbines will have an irrevocable impact on the landscape, wildlife and ornithology of the park and the Monadhliath Mountains."

Jenny Gascoigne, RWE's wind development manager Scotland, said: "Although the nearest turbine is one kilometre from the Cairngorm National Park, the turbines would be shielded by the ridgeline which forms the park boundary at this location, and because of the carefully designed layout, the wind farm would not be visible from the A9 or settlements of Kincraig, Kingussie or Aviemore within the Strathspey Valley."

Meanwhile, no fewer than 100% of visitors coming to Aviemore and the Cairngorms area vowed to return, a customer survey found, and all said they would recommend the area to other people.

The survey was conducted by the Cairngorms Super Seven, a joint marketing group comprising of the seven major visitor attractions in the Aviemore and Cairngorms area, and took place last October.

More than 85% of people questioned were repeat visitors and 67% come to the area at least once a year.

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