We’ve recently become aware of a large windfarm planned for a site called Allt Duine in the Monadhliath above Kincraig near Aviemore. The plans are apparently for 31 turbines each upto 125m high above land (to the top of the blade tip). The site is immediately adjacent to the boundary of the Cairngorm National Park and in an area of wild moorland. After reading about the planned site at http://www.savemonadhliathmountains.com/ we decided to take a look at drawing up some maps of the Allt Duine site and its surroundings and carrying out some GIS analysis on the possible visual impact of the turbines.
Small versions of 4 static jpeg maps are shown below which illustrate the location of the Allt Duine site, and highlight key features that became apparent from the GIS visual impact analysis carried out. These small versions link to moderate resolution versions which will provide good viewing and adequate printing. Higher resolution versions for higher quality use can be accessed using the links at the end of this article.
These maps are copyright Scotland-Landscapes.com, however we allow the distribution and non commercial use of these maps, as is, without alteration, subject to acknowledgement of Scotland-Landscapes.com. A description of the GIS analysis carried out is presented beneath the maps for those interested.
Allt Duine planned site consists of 4000 hectares cunningly located over the initial crest of the Monadhliath hills out of site of the main Strathspey valley, just a few kilometres east north east of two of the Monadhliath Munros, A’ Chailleach and Carn Sgulain. The entire turbine heights will be visible from these Munros.
A visual impact analysis indicates a massive impact on the summits of the Cairngorm National Park, the Northern Corries, and the lower slopes of Rothiemurchus and Glen Feshie. The full heights of the turbines will be visible from the country’s 2nd, 3rd and 6th highest summits. Munro summits to be severely impacted include Cairngorm, Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Bynack More, Sgor Gaoith and Mullach Clach a’ Bhlair.
The visual impact analysis was carried out to a distance of 100km around the Allt Duine site. It is quite possible for views from high summits to extend to this distance on high clarity days. The analysis indicates a severe impact on remote Munros and elevated areas in the vicinity of Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie, Loch Ericht and Loch Laggan, with some of the areas most remote Munro’s in wild areas being impacted by turbine views . Such Munros include Carn an Fhidhleir, Beinn Dearg, Ben Alder and Aonach Beag. Moors in the Moy, Slochd and Grantown areas will be severly impacted by the Allt Duine development. Its likely that views from some of these locations are already blighted by existing developments.
Furthermore, the analysis highlights the potential impact on distant hills. The analysis indicates that the turbines will be visible on high clarity days from some of Scotland’s most remote Munros such as those in the Fisherfield and Fannichs ranges and from the southern Highland’s including Munro’s such as Ben More and Ben Lui. Certain low lying areas of Easter Ross and the Black Isle will also be impacted.
Should you wish to join the campaign against this inappropriate industrial site in the heart of Scotland’s prize asset, its beautiful landscape, then you can sign the petition against it at: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savemonadhliath.
Higher quality jpeg maps for printing are available using the links below. These maps are copyright Scotland-Landscapes.com, however we allow the distribution and non commercial use of these maps, as is, without alteration, subject to acknowledgement of Scotland-Landscapes.com. A description of the GIS analysis carried out is presented beneath the maps for those interested.
1. Location Map
There is also an interactive map illustrating the results of this analysis at http://www.scotland-landscapes.com/maps/allt-duine-windfarm-map/.
Description of GIS Analysis
These maps contain the planned locations of the Allt Duine Windfarm turbines and an analysis of their visual impact across the Scottish Highlands. An analysis of the windfarms visibility within a 100km radius (quite possible on a clear day) is presented based on planned turbine heights. Analyses were carried out using a number of different turbine heights to assess how much of the turbines would be visible from the surrounding area:
- Total height planned 125m above ground (max height – tip of blades)
- Turbine hub height estimated at 85m above ground
- Blade minimum height estimated at 45m above ground
- An effective base of turbine height of 10m above ground
The analysis was based on the OS Opendata available Ordnance Survey Landform Panorama 50m spaced topographic dataset for the UK and was carried out at a topographic raster surface resolution of 250x250m (250m squares given the max elevation value of the OS Landform Panorama 25 input cells), with points of observation being the turbine locations with heights above the OS Landform Panorama surface.
Due to the number of shapefile features limit in ArcGIS.com map viewer (1000), and for performance in general, the analysis results resolution was reduced to 2km squares (this means that where a 2km square is noted as having visibility of the turbines at least one of the original 250m square cells had visibility).
In order to display this information in ArcGIS.com the 2km cell values were converted to a series of 2km spaced points. Locations with no visibility of turbines were excluded and the points with visibilty converted to a shapefile for loading to ArcGIS.com.
A further analysis of Munro Summits (Scottish mountains over 3000ft or 914.4m) was carried out to determine the potential impact on the views from Scotland’s highest mountains. Visibility data from the surfaces created during the first part of the analysis were exported to a point file of Munro Summits enabling categorisation of the Munros according to turbine visibility.
Maps and analyses created in good faith by Scotland-Landscapes.com. We cannot guarantee the absolute accuracy of this information and accept no liability whatsoever for any use of this information.
Jason Bonniface 11/09/2011
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