Thursday, 14 February 2019 14:12

Decision looms over future of iconic Glen Etive

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Mountaineers have welcomed news that councillors are to visit one of Scotland’s most iconic glens before deciding on potentially damaging developments.

No less than seven applications have been submitted to build hydro schemes on both sides of Glen Etive – which is currently designated as a National Scenic Area. Each of the schemes will involve new road construction, bridge-building, trench digging, cement-pouring and power cabling, for a relatively low power output.

Members of The Highland Council’s Planning Committee are now to visit the glen for themselves, following in the footsteps of Daniel Craig and Dame Judy Dench as James Bond and M in the movie Skyfall.

Glen Etive hydro press release

Photo by Tim Parkin (

Mountaineering Scotland has welcomed news of the visit and says it shows councillors are seriously considering the impact the schemes will have on a nationally significant landscape which is a major attraction for hillwalkers and climbers as well as other outdoor enthusiasts and tourists.

Stuart Younie, Chief Executive Officer of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “We challenged The Highland Council on its stewardship of Glen Etive and urged them to look at the whole picture of development in the glen rather than treating each application in isolation, so it is encouraging to see them visit the glen in person rather than relying on individual applications on paper.”

Davie Black, Access and Conservation Officer with Mountaineering Scotland, said: “There is development already along the glen floor, with roads, forestry and cottages, but having construction work spill up the slopes will damage the wild qualities of the mountainsides. This is a National Scenic Area – the top accolade for landscape in Scotland – but once the wild feel of the landscape is gone, it is gone. We believe it is in the national interest to maintain its value for generations to come.”

Mountaineering Scotland has objected to the hydro schemes up on the open hillside to the east of the River Etive, but not the ones that lie within the existing forestry plantation. The seven proposed schemes straddle both sides of the glen.

Mr Black continued: “It makes a real difference to see the actual location of developments, rather than sitting in a room looking at paperwork. Once the members of the planning committee see this glen and the mountains, they will surely see that the impact of the hydro pipeline and access tracks here are both unnecessary and unwelcome in this environment.

“The Highland Council has the stewardship of this scenic glen and mountains in its hands. We trust that the committee members will appreciate the value of our wild mountain landscapes and reject development that damages the integrity of that landscape.”

The Planning Committee will meet on 20th February to decide on the applications.