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Hydro threat to club hut in Glen Etive

Thursday 19th July 2018, 9:54am

Climbers and walkers are urged to speak up as Scotland's mountaineering community risks losing a popular mountain hut in Glen Etive as a developer bids to install a hydro scheme which could affect its water supply.

Inbhirfhaolain is owned by the Dundee-based Grampian Club, one of the larger clubs affiliated to Mountaineering Scotland, and is used by many other affiliated clubs and Mountaineering Scotland individual members as a great base for climbing and walking in the Glen Etive and Glen Coe areas.

The Club’s objection to Planning Application 18/02740/FUL for the “Construction of a run-of-river hydropower scheme, abstract water from the Allt Fhaolain burn and pipe to a turbine” is made on five different grounds: 

  • That there was no prior notification or consultation
  • The disruption to and viability of the hut's water supply
  • The constant noise from the powerhouse turbines
  • The visual impact of the powerhouse and associated facilities
  • The right of access to water and obligations of the landowner

>>> Read the Grampian Club's full objection

>>> Read the Mountaineering Scotland objection

The Grampian Club has 230 members based in Scotland, England and beyond and acquired the tenancy of the former roadmens’ Hut in 1961, purchasing the property and grounds in 1991. The sole water supply is from the nearby Allt Fhaolain burn at a designated collection point, a feature which appeals to many who favour a simple approach to enjoying the mountain environment. 

The hut is hired out at a cost of only £6 per person a night, and during the last seven years attracted occupancy of over 4,500 bed nights, providing a significant boost to the local economy.

Speaking for the Club, spokesperson (and former Mountaineering Scotland CEO) David Gibson said:

“The proposed scheme is a direct threat to this unique, low-cost accommodation which will be uninhabitable if the scheme goes ahead. Neither the developer nor its contractors have contacted the Club nor have they made any assessment of impacts on occupancy resulting from changes to the water supply. They have not considered the broader issues arising from the scheme which would affect the amenity of the hut, which has provided low cost accommodation for climbers and hill walkers in Glen Etive for almost 60 years.

“If this scheme goes ahead, it is obvious that people will no longer be able to use the accommodation, and our members stand to lose the value of the property and its income, which is in any case reinvested in the property. The property may well be a write off.

“The hydro power scheme threatening our property is one of no fewer than seven schemes proposed by Dickins Hydro within an 11km stretch of Glen Etive, which is part of the Ben Nevis Glen Coe National Scenic Area

If approved, these schemes would have a significant visual and physical impact on the wild land and amenity of the glen for walkers, climbers, photographers and canoeists and we hope that The Highland Council will exercise appropriate judgement in its assessment of the planning applications.”

How you can get involved:

It takes just a few minutes to register on the Highland Council's planning website so that you are able to submit a comment to have your views taken into consideration in the assessment of this planning proposal. 

If you or your club has ever stayed in the Inbhirfhaolain hut or would like the opportunity of doing so in the future - we call on your support. The greater the number of separate objections, the stronger our collective plea for this proposal to be refused. The deadline is Thursday 26 July.

View the planning application and other comments/objections

Click on the 'comments' tab and 'make a comment' button to register - you will receive an email to activate your account and then you can write your comment.