John Muir Trust bids to get expenses protection order against wind farm developers
Judges in Edinburgh’s Court of Session will today rule on whether conservation group the John Muir Trust should be granted a protective expenses order (PEO) in its legal challenge to the giant Stronelairg wind farm.
Under a new ruling, individuals, charities and community groups bringing an environmental case against a public body are entitled to apply for a PEO, limiting their liability for the other side's costs.
We believe it should have been the subject of a public local inquiry
The trust is objecting to Scottish and Southern's energy's development of a massive 67 turbine development on the Stonelairg site – one of the biggest in Europe.
Campaigners maintain that as the site was designated a “core area of wild land” by Scottish Natural Heritage before the proposals, it should be protected by law.
The decision to go ahead with the scheme was taken in the face of opposition from SNH, the Cairngorm National Park Authority and three out of the four local councillors in Strathspey and Badenoch.
Helen McDade, the trust’s head of policy, said: “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 concluded that we had no choice but to seek a judicial review."
The judge will not rule at this stage on the substance of the trust’s challenge but on whether a PEO will be granted.
The judicial review itself is expected to be heard mid-December.