Caplich inquiry underway

Trust gives evidence in support of wild land protection

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The John Muir Trust is this week giving evidence at a Public Local Inquiry into a proposed wind farm that would damage wild land in Scotland’s far north. The Inquiry comes as the Scottish Natural Heritage Wild Land Areas map reaches its third anniversary and hard on the heels of a recent Trust commissioned YouGov poll showing the Scottish public back continued protection of Wild Land Areas by a significant 16 to 1 majority.

In early 2016 Highland Council triggered a Public Local Inquiry (PLI) by objecting to an application for a 20 turbine wind farm development at Caplich near Oykel Bridge in Sutherland. Half of the turbines would be within the boundaries of Wild Land Area 34 (Reay-Cassley).

John Low, Policy Officer for the John Muir Trust is giving evidence that approval of the Caplich development would conflict with the Scottish Government’s commitment to safeguard wild land.

Caplich inquiry june2017 johnlow

Inquiry under way in Lairg

John Low said,“The publication of the Wild Land Areas map in 2014 recognised Scotland’s wild land as a nationally important asset that needs to be safeguarded. Scotland’s landscapes are spectacular, contributing to our quality of life, our national identity and the visitor economy. We only object to wind farms when we believe they will have a detrimental effect on an area of wild land. The Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Highland Council all share the view that this is the wrong place for a development like this."

The John Muir Trust has recently launched a campaign ‘Keep it Wild’ that calls on the Scottish Government to strengthen wild land protection asking for Wild Land Areas to be given the same level of protection from wind farms as National Scenic Areas and National Parks.

Surveys such as the Trust’s recent YouGov poll highlight the level of public support for wild land protection.

John Low said, “As Scotland’s Wild Land Areas map reaches its third anniversary on 23 June, it is time not only for the Scottish Government to reject this latest wind farm application but also to give Wild Land Areas the same level of protection from wind farms as National Scenic Areas and National Parks. ”

Find out more about the Trust’s “Keep it Wild” campaign