Trust condemns Scottish Government decision to approve giant wind farm

Bitter disappointment at decision by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to give the go-ahead to Stronelairg wind farm.

The John Muir Trust today expressed bitter disappointment at the decision by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to give the go-ahead to the giant Stronelairg wind farm in the heart of one of the proposed Core Areas of Wild Land mapped by Scottish Natural Heritage.

The development, the largest wind farm ever approved in the Highland Council area, will consist of 67 turbines, each 135 metres – the height of the Forth Road Bridge – spread over an area larger than Inverness.

Helen McDade, Head of Policy for the John Muir Trust said: “This development flies in the face of advice from Scottish Natural Heritage which objected to the development on the grounds that it would destroy the character of one of Scotland’s key areas of wild land.

“SSE is a powerful multinational company with its HQ in Scotland, and we know this project is worth many hundreds of millions to its shareholders. It is unfortunate that SSE’s views seem to hold greater sway over Ministers than the opinions of the Scottish Government’s own expert body on the natural environment.

“We are concerned about the wider implications of this decision for the future of wild land across Scotland.

“The Stronelairg Wind Farm is a massive industrial development in the heart of the Monadhliath Mountains – Area 17 of the Core Areas of Wild Land map.

“This decision would suggest that the Scottish Government intends either to remove the Monadhliaths from the wild land map, or to render the entire map meaningless. We will continue to fight for wild land in Scotland”

Later this month, the Scottish Government will be publishing its new National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy, and finalising its position on the Core Areas of Wild Land map. Up until now, the government has given the impression that it will provide strong protection from large scale energy developments in the 43 areas of wild land delineated in that map.

The John Muir Trust has fought a long hard campaign against the Stronelairg development and will now be considering its options.