A wilderness on the Isle of Skye has become the latest battleground in a bitter debate over the impact of wind turbines on Scotland’s most spectacular landscapes.

Proposals for 53 turbines, each with a height of 200 metres (685ft), at Ullinish Glen in the northwest of the island, will turn “majestic and widely appreciated scenery” into an industrial park according to the wind farm’s opponents, potentially poisoning Skye’s economic lifeblood, its tourism trade.

Turbines sited on the highest land at Ullinish will stand an estimated 365 metres above sea level, equivalent to about a third of the height of the Cuillin mountains, and will be visible from most parts of the island.

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The proposed wind farm is set amid the crofting community of Struan, but hundreds of thousands of day-trippers and hikers can expect to see the giant blades turning in the wind, because the Ullinish project lies en route to Trotternish, Skye’s spectacular northernmost peninsula. The development has been condemned in a column for the local West Highland Free Press by Charles Macdonald, a landowner at Skeabost, who warned fellow islanders against “sleepwalking into a world which none of us properly understand”.

Macdonald pointed out that Skye’s existing renewal energy schemes were sufficient for residents’ needs and said: “Does the island want to become an industrial site supplying the rest of the UK with electricity?”

Macdonald quoted a report that found 2,850 local jobs — almost a third of the population — were dependent on the visitor economy. He said: “Skye depends on tourists in a big way.

“Maybe they will still come, but I worry that it may diminish enthusiasm to make a visit if our majestic and widely appreciated scenery effectively becomes a giant industrial landscape.”  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/storm-clouds-gather-over-wind-farm-plan-for-skye-jclrprwx5

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