Conservation body challenges government over windfarm development in Highlands
A conservation charity is going to the Court of Session in an attempt to block a 67-turbine wind farm planned for the Monadhliath mountains in the Highlands.
The John Muir Trust said it had lodged the petition asking for a judicial review because energy minister Fergus Ewing granted consent without a public inquiry.
In the absence of proper democratic scrutiny, our trustees feel we had no choice but to seek a judicial review of the decision
The body says the decision was taken in the face of opposition from the government’s own advisory body, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and from the Cairngorm National Park Authority as well as three out of the four local councillors in Strathspey and Badenoch.
Written objections to the development from the public outnumbered supporting letters by a margin of almost 15 to 1, said the trust.
John Hutchison, chairman of the John Muir Trust, said: “This is the largest-ever wind farm approved in the Highlands, and was opposed by both the government’s own advisory body on nature and landscape, SNH and by the Cairngorms National Park Authority.
“Because of the scale of the development, and the breadth of opposition to it, we believe it should have been the subject of a public local inquiry.
"In the absence of proper democratic scrutiny, our trustees feel we had no choice but to seek a judicial review of the decision.
“The trust is now seeking donations to help us take forward this legal action.”
Developer SSE Renewables said the wind farm could generate enough electricity to power 114,000 homes.
SSE also said it would bring £30m-worth of benefits to the region.