Conservation body the John Muir Trust has objected to a proposed 43-turbine wind farm in the Highlands due to the impact it would have on wild land.
Developers Wind Energy submitted plans last month to the Scottish Government for the Glenmorie wind farm on the Kildermorie and Glencalvie estates, west of Ardgay in Sutherland. If approved it would provide enough electricity to power about 90,000 homes.
Steven Turnbull, policy officer for JMT, said: “The impacts of the wind farm on the landscape would be significant and completely inappropriate for an area of wild land.
“Even though the applicant has acknowledged these impacts, they’ve offered little evidence to support their decision to proceed regardless.”
Mr Turnbull said figures published by Scottish National Heritage indicate that the amount of Scotland visually unaffected by built development has decreased from 41 per cent in 2002 to 28 per cent by 2009, mainly due to wind farms.
“The Glenmorie proposal would further erode the remaining resource and may set a precedent for further similar developments in the area.”
Local action group Save Our Straths say the development would overlook the Dornoch Firth National Scenic Area, including Skibo Castle, and dominate views from Ben Wyvis.
The group said: “Already with 65 wind turbines in the vicinity of the proposed new wind farm, and an additional 15 in the pipeline, the fear is that the 43-turbine development will be the final nail in the coffin for the local tourism industry as the last unspoiled Strath in Easter Ross.”
But Wind Energy said it has received “quite a positive response” from the community. It has reduced the scale of the project and designed the wind farm to limit any visual impact.
It argues that most of the development would be hidden from view from the surrounding villages.