Trust welcomes Scottish Government rejection of Dunbeath wind farm

Trust applauds Scottish Government decision to reject Caithness wind farm as great step towards national wild land protection.

The John Muir Trust today welcomed the decision of Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to refuse permission to the 17-turbine Dunbeath wind development as ‘a potentially historic milestone in the battle for wild protection’.

The Trust lodged an objection to the development back in 2007. The then Scottish Executive ordered a Public Local Inquiry after Scottish Natural Heritage also objected to the proposal.

After years of deliberation, the Scottish Government has now refused permission to the scheme on the grounds that “the significant adverse impacts of this proposed wind farm on nearby wild land and key landscape characteristics in conjunction with the cumulative effects with other wind farms and visual impacts on recreational and road users is too great."

John Muir Trust Chief Executive Stuart Brooks said: “We are delighted that the Energy Minister has recognised that Scotland’s internationally renowned rugged and beautiful wild land should be protected from industrial-style development.

“We fully support the Scottish Government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels, but we’ve always argued that this should not be at the expense of our unique wild landscapes.

“Yesterday’s decision, along with the recently published wild land map and the proposed changes to planning policy could mark a historic milestone in the battle for Scotland’s wild land. In the Year of Natural and the 175th birthday of John Muir it is good news indeed that the Scottish Government seems to be taking to heart the words of the great pioneering Scottish environmentalist – ‘we need beauty as well as bread.’

“There are still a number of other proposed wind developments in the pipeline in the heart of core wild land areas in the the Monadhliath Mountains and near Loch Shin in Sutherland. We would urge the Scottish Governemt to act boldly and consistently by rejecting these schemes too.

“We now urge the government to act courageously in the coming months and send a clear message to the rest world that Scotland’s wild and rugged land is a magnificent national treasure that is worth protecting.”