Trust letter highlights flawed planning process for Creag Riabhach

Read our letter to The Times following coverage of the recent decision to consent wind farm near Altnaharra

S28c windfarm glacier blue detail

The Trust's Head of Policy wrote to The Times this week following coverage of the recent decision by Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse to consent the application for the Creag Riabhach wind farm at Altnaharra Estate near Lairg in Sutherland.

The text of the letter as it appeared is shown below:-

Dear Editor

Your report (“Locals” backing Highland wind farm had Doncaster address, News, Dec 5),  included a moving account of the potential impact on a local business and its owners who are neighbours of the Creag Riabhach site.  It’s worth highlighting that neither Highland Council nor the government thought a public local inquiry was required.  However, the government has since recognised that its decision letter has incorrect statements while you highlight that a  high number of supporters’ letters (a major justification for ignoring the impacts on wild land) may have largely been sent by, or influenced by, those who would  benefit economically.

The flawed decision process overseen by the energy minister Paul Wheelhouse, demonstrates that the Scottish planning system needs to change.  The John Muir Trust objected to this scheme because of its impacts on our natural heritage with five turbines being in a "wild land area" (WLA). 

The trust congratulated Mr Wheelhouse, as environment minister, for bringing in WLAs into planning, “recognising the need for significant protection” from wind developments.  This decision contradicts that previous stance and throws that protection into doubt with no opportunity to challenge it, except through our prohibitively expensive court system.  

Helen McDade

Head of Policy

John Muir Trust