Cameron McNeish warns Scottish Government over Cairngorms wind farm plans

Scottish writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish
Scottish writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish
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A LEADING Scottish TV presenter has warned the Scottish Government that approving controversial plans for a wind farm beside the UK’s biggest national park would fly in the face of its new multimillionpound tourism drive promoting the nation’s landscape.

Cameron McNeish, who presents Scottish outdoors TV programme The Adventure Show and represents campaigners opposing the scheme, said it would be contradictory if the SNP agreed proposals for a 31-turbine scheme on the edge of Cairngorms National Park during its own Year of Natural Scotland (YNS) initiative.

Ministers are due to rule early this year on whether or not to approve the scheme, which developers hope to build at Allt Duine to generate electricity for around 52,000 homes.

Mr McNeish said: “It is ironic that the Government, through Visit Scotland, is championing a campaign to conserve and promote Scotland’s natural beauty, while considering the possibility of granting permission for 31 giant turbines a few hundred metres from the boundary of a national park.

“We need to establish what is more important for the country. In my view, it would be entirely hypocritical to grant permission for Allt Duine.”

German energy firm RWE npower has disputed claims that the scheme would ruin the landscape, stating that it would be hidden from view by a ridgeline and was within Highland Council’s preferred “area of search” for wind farms.

However the council rejected the application last year, leading to an appeal which the Scottish Government is due to decide shortly.

The latest concern follows criticism from world-renowned Scottish photographer Colin Prior who accused the SNP of adopting a ‘Klondike’ goldrush approach to green energy which was destroying the very landscape which YNS, which he supports, aims to promote.

The Scottish Government maintained that it was protecting the landscape and stated that no windfarms had been built inside national parks.