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Hydro power construction fears at 'Skyfall' beauty spot

Moutaineers fear Glen Etive's 'fragile' environment could be damaged by development plans

Concerns: New development plans could alter 'fragile' environment.
Concerns: New development plans could alter 'fragile' environment. Laura Piper

Mountaineers have raised concerns over plans for hydro power constructions in a famous glen.

Highland Council is currently considering seven applications for Glen Etive after comments on the proposals closed on Sunday.

The glen near Glencoe was famously used in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall as well as in Mel Gibson's Braveheart in 1995.

Mountaineering Scotland has criticised the plans saying that each development plan would damage to the glen's natural environment.

The group's chief executive, Stuart Younie, confirmed the group has written to councillors in a bid to reconsider the development of the glen over "relatively low power output".

He said: "We are challenging the Highland Council on its stewardship of Glen Etive and call for the planning department to defend this much-loved landscape.

"Wild land is fragile and requires understanding of what can damage its qualities for generations to come, and it needs a commitment to protect those qualities.

"This is despite the increasing complaints of poorly constructed and restored access tracks, intake weir pipework and bare concrete facings.

"If developments are to be given permission in such sensitive areas, that permission should only be given where proper monitoring and safeguards are in place."

He added: "If either the Highland Council or the Scottish Government want to be taken at all seriously as stewards of some of Scotland's most iconic scenery, they must up their game."

Mountaineering Scotland also confirmed that two plans had been withdrawn due to impact concerns but were recently resubmitted with modifications.

'If either the Highland Council or the Scottish Government want to be taken at all seriously as stewards of some of Scotland's most iconic scenery, they must up their game.'
Stuart Younie, Mountaineering Scotland

Mr Younie continued: "Small-scale hydro-power schemes should be relatively benign forms of renewable energy generation, but do not come free from environmental costs.

"If not carefully designed, the construction footprint and visual legacy in areas of natural beauty and wildness can greatly outweigh the power generation produced by each scheme."

A Highland Council spokeswoman responded to the claims and said: "Every planning application for hydro schemes is assessed on its merits, taking into account relevant development plan and national policy, including those relating to landscape impact.

"The views expressed by consultees and third parties are also important and will form an important part of the assessment."

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