Blow to wild land as Glen Etive hydro schemes approved

Trust disappointed at council decision to approve Glen Etive hydro schemes

Glen etive  with allt mheuran and regeneration in the foreground detail

The John Muir Trust today expressed its disappointment at the decision to approve three run of the river hydro schemes along Glen Etive and warned that Scotland’s wild places are being diminished in pursuit of private profit.

The Trust previously objected to three of the seven applications in the glen, because of their potential impact on a popular and accessible scenic landscape within a wild land area.

The three were among seven that were approved in the glen by the Highland Council planning committee. Subsequently, a local councillor and committee member secured support for a review via a meeting of the full Highland council on Wednesday 20 March.

John Low, John Muir Trust Policy Officer, said: “We first want to commend Councillor Andrew Baxter for ensuring that the full Highland council had an opportunity to examine these applications.

“The Trust took a measured approach to the proposals. We are concerned, however, at the continuing diminishing of Scotland’s wild places at the hands of developers whose sole objective is private profit.

 “While we are disappointed at the blanket approval of all seven hydro schemes in this iconic glen, we welcome the fact that there is to be local monitoring of the sites to ensure they are properly restored after construction work.” 

The Trust originally objected to three of seven proposed hydro schemes in the Glen Etive area in August 2018 after assessing that they would detract from Wild Land Area 9 that is afforded significant protection in Scottish planning policy. Then in February 2019 the Trust wrote an open letter in support of action being taken to try and avoid damage to the Loch Etive Wild Land Area.

The Trust was joined in its objections by a wide diversity of people and organisations including in recent months the formation of an independent campaign group called Save Glen Etive.

Picture credit: David Lintern.