A Scottish court has overturned a previous ruling that prevented the development of the 240 MW Stronelairg Wind Farm in the Scottish Highlands.
The new decision by the Scottish court pertains to a motion upheld in late 2015 which saw Scottish conservation charity, the John Muir Trust, successfully halt development on the Stronelairg Wind Farm, claiming that the developers, SSE Renewables, did not appropriately publicize the impact of the development on the environment.
According to the John Muir Trust, the original ruling determined that “members of the public had been denied the opportunity to comment on a revised planning application for the proposed wind farm, and that Scottish Ministers did not take into account Scottish Natural Heritage’s objection in principle to any wind farm development at Stronelairg.”
The full Opinion of the Court delivered by Lord Carloway last Friday can be read here, but in typical English understatement, Lord Carloway summed up his findings by saying, “It is, putting matters mildly, unfortunate that the Lord Ordinary was allowed to proceed to his decision that there had been a breach of” the regulations in question.
“We welcome the ruling of the Court of Session on the appeal of the Stronelairg Judicial Review,” said a spokesperson for SSE Renewables.
“Situated in a natural upland bowl, Stronelairg will not be seen from the Great Glen’s key tourist routes, will be entirely invisible from Loch Ness and will utilise the extensive existing infrastructure at our Glendoe hydro scheme.
“Stronelairg is a carefully designed project with the carbon payback estimated to be around 16 months. It was strongly supported by many local stakeholders, was not opposed by the local community council and was supported by the Highland Council planning committee. The ruling today has brought good news to a project that would bring significant benefits to the local and wider economy.”
Unsurprisingly, the John Muir Trust was not pleased with its win being overturned.
“We are extremely disappointed by the decision,” said Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust.
“Lord Jones, in the initial judicial review, found in favour of the Trust’s legal arguments that Scottish Government had not followed the correct planning process. The Inner House judges have now disagreed with that assessment.
“We are confident that we did the right thing by challenging this decision – standing up against a scheme that could industrialise and decimate a precious area of wild Scotland.”
Image Credit: via the John Muir Trust
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