Trust calls on Scottish Government to save Monadhliath Mountains

Trust expresses disappointment in planning committee decision to accept Stronelairg wind development and calls for Public Local Inquiry.

The John Muir Trust today expressed disappointment in the vote of the Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee to accept the Stronelairg wind development (subject to conditions) and called on the Scottish Government to make sure that a full public inquiry now takes place.

“We are disappointed that the majority of councillors chose to ignore expert opinion from bodies which include Scottish Natural Heritage, the Cairngorms National Park, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the John Muir Trust,” said Helen McDade, the John Muir Trust Head of Policy.

“But despite this setback, the fight to save the Monadhliath Mountains will continue. Reports this week have suggested that the Scottish Government is open to wild land protection, but once we industrialise any area of wild land, it is gone forever.

“If this proposal goes ahead, one of Scotland’s core areas of wild land will disappear under a forest of steel turbines the height of the Forth Bridge, spread across a vast tract of of peatland the size of a small city.

“Given that Scottish Natural Heritage – the official agency overseeing Scotland’s landscape and ecology – maintains a substantive objection to the proposal, it would be normal practice for the Scottish Government to call a public inquiry to ensure that full complexity of the Stronelairg development is fully explored.

“It is vital that there is, for example an in-depth assessment of, for example, the permanent damage to the ecology of the area that would be wreaked by excavating up to a million tonnes of rock from sensitive peatlands to build the infrastructure of the site, which will include concrete foundations and 40 miles of access roads.”

“The Monadhliath Mountains are a national asset of cultural and geographical significance for the whole of Scotland. We would strongly urge the Scottish Government to heed the views of those members of its own party on the council who voted to object to this development.”

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