Gearing up for the Limekiln & Drum Hollistan Public Local Inquiry

Trust calls for Caithness Inquiry to recognise value of Scotland’s world-leading Wild Land Areas

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In just under a month the Trust will be heading north to Thurso to give evidence at the Public Local Inquiry into the proposed Drum Hollistan and Limekiln 2 wind farms on the edge of Wild Land Area 39: East Halladale Flows. These developments, one to the north west and one to the north east, would effectively sandwich the Wild Land Area and the Trust will be arguing that they cannot fail to have a serious adverse impact.

Those reading this who think that the battle to stop Limekiln had been won are not wrong – the Limekiln proposal (24 turbines) was thrown out following a Public Local Inquiry in 2014, only to be resubmitted in almost identical form in 2016. The Drum Hollistan application (17 turbines of up to 140m) followed later that year.

So there’s a sense of deja-vu. The Trust will once again mount the strongest defence possible of wild land. The Trust will be fielding a team which will include the Trust’s Chief Executive Andrew Bachell, Head of Policy Helen McDade and Policy Officer John Low. The Trust will also benefit from specialist technical advice from Dr Steve Carver of the renowned University of Leeds Wild Land Research Institute who will explain to the Inquiry Reporters the methodology taken by Scottish Natural Heritage in the development of mapping for Wild Land Areas. This is world-leading and Scotland was the first country in Europe to action the key points arising from the European Parliament Resolution on Wilderness in Europe. These included commissioning a review of wild land protection in Europe and initiating a national mapping programme.

The Trust and its supporters believe that wildness is an asset which supports a range of cultural, economic and landscape outcomes. A YouGov poll for the John Muir Trust in 2017 found that support for wild land protection is overwhelming among all age groups and geographical regions. The poll found that the Highlands and Islands, where most of Scotland’s wild land is located, has the highest proportion of people (60 per cent) who strongly agree with the protection of Wild Land Areas.

In view of the recognition by the Scottish Government of wild land as a “nationally important” asset to be afforded significant protection, the Trust will conclude that the Limekiln and Drum Hollistan applications should be rejected in order to deliver on this policy objective.

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