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Objection to met mast over Loch Shin

Tuesday 14th November 2017, 10:11am

A planning application to erect an 80-metre meteorological mast on a Sutherland hill has met with an objection from Mountaineering Scotland.

And it is suggested that members might want to add their objections too.

The application, from Edinburgh-based WKN Sallachy Ltd, seeks permission for the mast on Cnoc a’ Bhaid Bhain Hill, in the hills north-west of Sallachy, near Lairg.

However, the application follows previously granted temporary planning permission for a mast on the same site, which was erected to collect data for the proposed Sallachy wind farm, for which Scottish Ministers rejected the planning application two years ago.

David Gibson, CEO of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “The original application for a mast on this site was made and granted on a temporary basis for five years. An obvious question is, after five years of data collection, and the refusal of the original planning application for a wind farm on this site, why is another mast and further data collection considered necessary, and how long will this mast be there?”

He added: “We might speculate that the new planning application may simply be to enable the applicant to avoid the costs of removal of the mast, which will remain a threat to the natural heritage as identified by SNH in respect of the original application.”

In its objection, Mountaineering Scotland has asked that Highland Council refuse the application and invoke the original condition that “the application site shall be cleared of all development approved under the terms of this permission ... and reinstated in accordance with a scheme approved in writing by the planning authority.”

Mr Gibson added: “This objection is in line with our existing policy document Respecting Scotland’s Mountains; our recent membership survey indicated that landscape and conservation issues are of major concern to our members, so there’s a chance here for members to make their voices heard.”

Mountaineering Scotland members can make their own objections by going to the planning section of the Highland Council website, registering their contact details, searching for application number 17/05105/FUL then commenting in the online form provided.