THE APPLICATION FOR
TALLADH-A-BHEITHE WIND FARM
HAS BEEN REJECTED
BY SCOTTISH MINISTERS
Welcome to the Keep Rannoch Wild Website.
We are an alliance of local people and others who love the landscapes and wildlife of Rannoch and who are determined to help protect both from the huge damage which would be caused by the proposed wind farm at Talladh-a-Bheithe, between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht. With the sole exception of the commissioned analysis of socio-economics, all the work in researching, writing and administering this website has been given freely by people who live permanently or for periods of their time in Rannoch.
This website aims to provide full and accurate information and critical commentary on the scheme. Please explore the many issues, images and resources on the following pages or through the links provided.
The number and quality of the objections to this particular scheme are unprecedented. This page provides links to a selection from the 1,000 objections which we consider particularly important, with the first three from statutory bodies. An analysis of the public representations is below.
Scottish Natural Heritage - The Government's specialist advisor on the natural environment - objects in principle on grounds of landscape and ecology and judges that the proposal understates these impacts. Link to SNH Objection
Scottish Environment Protection Agency - The Government's regulatory body for pollution prevention in the natural environment - objects on the grounds of lack of information in the application on compliance with regulations in the proposed transport via Loch Ericht, on impacts on peatlands and on the location and assessment of borrow pits. Link to SEPA objection
The Cairngorms National Park Authority - a Planning Authority in law - objects on the grounds of unacceptable and signigicant adverse impact on landscape character of the Park itself and on the wider area of wild land between the Park and Ben Nevis. Link to Cairngorms National Park Authority Objection.
The John Muir Trust objects primarily on the grounds of the impact of the sceme on Wild Land as mapped by SNH (the wind farm would be fully within Area 14) and on the Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon National Scenic Area. Link to the John Muir Trust Objection.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland objects on the grounds that this scheme 'on a site defined as Wild Land would have severe landscape and visual impacts and would diminish the local tourist and recreation resource'. Link to MCofS objection.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds objects primarily on grounds of the likely impact of the scheme on mortality rates of breeding golden eagles which currently nest in the vicinity, but also have strong concerns on impacts on golden plover and greenshank, as well as on peatland generally. Link to RSPB Objection
The Keep Rannoch Wild objection critically reviews the quality and content of the proposal itself and identifies its key deficiencies before listing 26 specific objections on grounds of landscape, habitats, socio-economics and logistics. Link to Keep Rannoch Wild Objection.
|Perth and Kinross Council - the Planning Authority for this proposal - had by 20th October not received the full set of representations from the Government's Energy Consents and Development Unit and so is not yet able to reach a considered view on it. Keep Rannoch Wild hopes that elected members will give full consideration to the expressed views of Rannoch residents.
PDF OF THE INDEPENDENT ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT
Analysis of Public Representations.
The attached chart is based on the total of 987 representations shown in the final ECDU spreadsheet.
Most of these (958 or over 97%) are objections and just 29 (less than 3%) are supportive.
Most objections cite multiple grounds with the most frequent grounds (in order) being:
1. Visual Impact (852)
2. Environment (819)
3. Local Economy (670)
4. Location (667)
5. Wildlife (395)
6. Against Planning Policy (356)
The attached chart shows the totals for all grounds of objection which were cited by 50 or more people.
The sources of the representations are interesting:
Of the 662 objections where rthe source postcode or county is shown, marginally under 1/3 (213 or 32.18%) were from Perthshire, and the great majority of the others were from other parts of Scotland. There were 35 objections noted from outwith the UK, with the largest number (7) from the Netherlands;
Of the 23 notes of support where the source is shown, 22 are from Perthshire and one from another part of Scotland. Most (19) of the notes of support from Perthshire are actually from PH16, so are at minimum 11km from the nearest turbine, whilst PH17 (which includes the site) only provided 3 notes of support. Both local (Rannoch) postcodes showed a clear majority in opposition to the TaB scheme - together with 4:1 against.
Summary of the Current Position
Eventus, the developer, submitted a planning application on 23rd June 2014 to construct 24 wind turbines of over 410 feet on a site some 3 miles north of Loch Rannoch. The company’s documentation so far has consistently downplayed the visual impacts which this would have on the landscapes of Rannoch and its surroundings, which we consider unacceptable intrusions into iconic wild land. Its initial mapping was criticised by the Planning Authority at scoping stage as ‘underplaying … potential visual effects along the shores of Loch Rannoch and from viewpoints to the south, east and west of the proposed site’ but even so showed that the turbines would be prominent from many parts of Rannoch. The company has since been required to add additional viewpoints which go some way towards a more balanced presentation of the damaging landscape impacts of its scheme but we consider that the company’s visibility mapping and choice of viewpoints still fall short of objectivity.
This Proposal has been in development for over six years, yet consultation with the Rannoch Community only began in November 2013 and seems to have finished eight months later when this application was submitted. Despite this, the applicant persists in implying that local input somehow helped shape the proposal and that there has been 'extensive' consultation - neither of which is sustainable. By all objective measures it is clear that a substantial majority of Rannoch people are opposed to this scheme. See the reality of community consultation here.
Our central concern is the proposed intrusion of huge industrial structures into the magnificent wild landscapes of Rannoch and its surroundings, and we intend to contest this as strongly as we can. There would be other significant consequences if the natural beauty of the area was degraded in this way, including a likely reduction in the appeal of Rannoch for the nature tourism which is its core offer – it has no significant built tourist attractions or heritage sites to rely on.
The value and uniqueness of Rannoch’s wild landscapes are well summarised in this extract from an earlier SNH Landscape Evaluation of the threatened area:
“The dramatic landform is the dominant characteristic of the area. The topography is varied, ranging from massive, louring hills to more delicate, dissected peaks. It also forms long, deep glens that contain the striking large-scale lochs that are another feature of the landscape. … The area is located in the centre of the Highlands between Strathspey and the west. … the high ground is a barrier to communication and the distances from other settlements and routes from the south of the area further inhibits traffic. The bulk of the study area, south of the A86, is served only by estate tracks and footpaths. This heightens the sense of remoteness and semi-wilderness which is one of the main features of being in the area.”
All this is worth fighting for.
(site on the right, Ben Alder group on left, looking north up Loch Ericht towards Cairngorms National Park)