Hands off Glen Etive, say moun­tain lovers

The Oban Times - - News -

MOUN­TAINEERS have called on High­land Coun­cil to re­ject a bid to site a phone mast right next to the road in Glen Etive, one of Scot­land’s most famed and beau­ti­ful glens that leads from the north into Ar­gyll, writes Louise Glen.

Telecomms com­pany EE has sought per­mis­sion to site a 10me­tre-high phone mast and an­cil­lary struc­tures at the road­side in the glen, at a prom­i­nent cor­ner near the south­ern end of Buachaille Etive Mor.

Moun­taineer­ing Scot­land has ob­jected to the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion, ar­gu­ing that the mast – and two oth­ers be­ing con­sid­ered for the glen – would be vis­ually in­tru­sive in a land­scape that has fea­tured in tourism pub­lic­ity, and even a James Bond film.

The site is also within the Ben Ne­vis and Glen­coe Na­tional Scenic Area.

In its ob­jec­tion, sub­mit­ted to the High­land Coun­cil, Moun­taineer­ing Scot­land ar­gues that an oth­er­wise largely un­spoiled land­scape and visi­tor ex­pe­ri­ence would be com­pro­mised.

David Gib­son, CEO of Moun­taineer­ing Scot­land, said: ‘Glen Etive is an iconic, beau­ti­ful glen within a Na­tional Scenic Area – one which of­fers vis­i­tors a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence of the true wild na­ture of Scot­land’s moun­tains.

‘The mast and in­fra­struc­ture would ren­der some views ut­terly or­di­nary.

‘The pro­posal is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able and is a poor ex­am­ple of a de­vel­oper seek­ing an ex­pe­di­ent so­lu­tion.

‘We would ex­pect EE and their par­ent BT Group to ex­er­cise bet­ter judge­ment of the true value of Scot­land’s land­scape, as an as­set to be en­joyed by many, not ex­ploited for a quick fix so­lu­tion. We ask them with­draw the pro­posal and think again.’

In its ob­jec­tion, Moun­taineer­ing Scot­land points out that it is clear that a num­ber of al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions within the glen could be used – as sug­gested by Scottish Nat­u­ral Her­itage – which would use the back­drop of the hills to make the vis­ual im­pact less se­vere.

It states: ‘As an or­gan­i­sa­tion rep­re­sent­ing those who en­joy a range of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, we recog­nise the im­por­tance of ef­fec­tive mo­bile telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, es­pe­cially in the con­text of safety in the hills. How­ever, we be­lieve that in the case of this pro­posal, that vi­able al­ter­na­tives are avail­able to the de­vel­oper.

‘ We ob­ject to the pro­posal and would urge EE and BT Group to think again.’

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