MOUNTAINEERING leaders say a planned wind farm of 24 turbines near Rannoch Moor poses a threat to rare wildlife.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) claims residents, businesses and landscape protection organisations are opposing the Talladh a Bheithe Wind Farm scheme to erect the 400ft turbines between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht.

The MCofS cited George Macdonald, who recently retired after 23 years as head gamekeeper on a local estate.

He wrote to ministers to express concern about the impact on the rare species near the site, saying the area was a prime hunting ground for eagles which nest nearby.

Other species which could be affected are said to be: black-throated, great northern and red-throated divers; golden and white tailed eagle; harrier and osprey.

David Gibson, MCofS chief officer, said: "This ill-considered, inappropriate and deeply unpopular scheme is a serious threat both to our wildlife, and to the sustainable tourism businesses which rely on visitors wanting to come and experience our open, empty spaces and the birds and animals which thrive there."

A spokeswoman for Talladh-a-Bheithe Wind Farm Ltd, said: "We are currently in the process of analysing all consultee feedback and will respond through the appropriate channels."