Group want end to Loch Ness and Great Glen wind farms
A new campaign group has been set up to fight against the spread of wind farm developments around Loch Ness.
Save Loch Ness say over 30 miles of wind turbines are either in the pipeline or already approved on land around the loch.
They believe over 500 turbines have been proposed.
The group want all wind farm developments in the Loch Ness area to be stopped.
Save Loch Ness claims to have 100 members and more than 2,000 signatures from all over the world on a petition to the Scottish Parliament.
Jim Treasurer, spokesman for Save Loch Ness campaign, told Radio Scotland: "It is a spectacular landscape and certainly the most famous loch in the world, and the Great Glen is probably the most famous valley in Europe.
"We are quite concerned that the future plans for the area are to extend 30 miles of wind farms on both sides of the Great Glen adjacent to Loch Ness.
"People come here to see the outstanding natural beauty of the area and with 30 miles of wind farm developments including hundreds of miles of access tracks, the environment will become very artificial and there is no doubt it will impact the tourism economy of the Highlands."
The group's petition calls on the Scottish government to:
- Protect Loch Ness and the Great Glen by designating it a national scenic area
- To recommend that a priority application is made to UNESCO for designation of Loch Ness and the Great Glen as a World Heritage Site
- To take appropriate steps to discourage further wind turbine developments in the area and support the restoration of all sites therein damaged by wind turbines.
Mr Treasurer said the Save Loch Ness group is not against wind farms or renewable energy, but are concerned at the location of the proposed turbines.
In response to the campaign, a spokesperson for the Scottish government said: "Our policy on onshore wind farms aims to strike a careful balance between utilising Scotland's significant renewable energy resources whilst protecting our finest scenic landscapes and natural heritage.
"As campaigners are aware, Scottish Planning Policy makes clear that wind farms are not appropriate in National Parks or National Scenic Areas - which cover a fifth of Scotland - and also strengthens protection for wild land areas - covering a further tenth of the country.
"However, where it is proposed that wind farms should be inappropriately located outside of these protected areas and don't meet strict planning guidelines on matters such as landscape impact, cumulative impact and impact on residential amenity, they will also be rejected.
"The Scottish planning process strongly promotes public engagement which enables community organisations to make representations on development proposals. This allows any stakeholder or interested parties to make their views known, which are taken into account in the assessment of a project."