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Council to reconsider Glen Etive hydro decisions

Thursday 28th February 2019, 3:15pm

News that The Highland Council is to revisit the decision to give planning approval to the seven hydropower schemes in Glen Etive has been welcomed by mountaineers.

A motion to review the decision on the schemes on the Allt Ceitlein, Allt Chaorainn and Allt Mheuran – the three lying within the Loch Etive Mountains Wild Land Area – was lodged and passed the required level of support of 15 councillors. This means a Special Meeting of the full Highland Council will be convened to look again at the decision by the South Planning Committee to approve the hydropower schemes. The Special Meeting is will take place on 20th March.

Since the decision last Wednesday there has been a huge public response, expressing concerns about the decision to approve the schemes in such an important landscape area.

Mountaineering Scotland Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Younie, has written to the Leader of The Highland Council requesting that the approval for the three schemes located in wild land be revoked in the national interest.  His letter appealing for the protection of an outstanding mountainous area can be read here.

He said: “It is important to stress we are not opposed to renewable energy developments. Our members enjoy being in the mountains, and they are well aware of the impact of climate change.  We objected to three out of the seven proposed developments which we believe will have the biggest impact on the designated Wild Land Area. Our action in this issue demonstrates our support for helping to protect the integrity of the best mountainous landscapes in Scotland.”

Jonathan Binny, Landscape and Planning Director, said: “It is appropriate that the three schemes to be reviewed are those which will be highly visible and eat into designated wild land. From the many complaints we receive it is clear that restoration and mitigation regularly fails to resolve the visual impacts of such schemes. We would urge councillors to engage in dialogue with us over this matter.”

Designated as part of a larger National Scenic Area, and recognised for its qualities of wild land, the area of mountains and glens lying to the east of the River Etive have the top accolades for Scottish landscapes. 

The glen is an important national asset as it is readily accessible from the A82, yet retains the feelings of remoteness and wildness, and its popularity shows the importance of the location for many people, for outdoor recreation and enjoyment of the landscape.

Mountaineering Scotland calls on Councillors of The Highland Council to ensure that the right developments are in the right place – the burns of Allt Ceitlein, Allt Chaorainn and Allt Mheuran are not the right place.

Members of Mountaineering Scotland who live in The Highland Council area might wish to contact their local councillors urging them to put their weight behind effective protection for the Glen Etive landscape. You can find contact details for your local councillor here.

Photo by Richard Cross.