The snow, last weekend, nicely brought out the relief around the Cononish gold mine but also covered up its visual impact, with the waste bags covered by snow. The photo shows, I believe, that what I stated in my last post (see here) on Cononish was correct:
“The Wild Land Assessment contained in the Environmental Statement suggests that the establishment and operation of the mine will have a ’moderate and significant effect on approaching the north-eastern hills’ but this will be medium term and localised to upper Glen Cononish with the effect on the local sense of sanctuary ‘minor and not significant’. The visibility of the mining site from the surrounding mountains and the effect that this will have on their landscape setting including that of the impressive Eas Anie waterfall and ravine is not considered.”
This demonstrates that the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority need to undertake and publish their own independent landscape assessment on the impact of the proposed gold mine as part of their consideration of the revised planning application. This needs to take account of the landscape impact of creating 10 heaps of tailings in the large area below the mine (in the central section of the photo) and what doing so will do to the Wild Land Area which was created in 2014. This will be a test of the value that our National Parks attribute to Wild Land Areas and will have implications for Wild Land Areas elsewhere.
I will consider what’s happening with the Cononish planning application more fully in my next post.