Trust to give evidence at Public Local Inquiry

Ben Wyvis wind farm would affect Wild Land Area 29

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As a Public Local Inquiry gets underway next week into an application for a 14-turbine wind farm at Carn Gorm, in the shadow of the popular Munro Ben Wyvis, the John Muir Trust will be called to give evidence.

In September last year, Highland Council refused permission to the wind farm because of its potential impacts on official Wild Land Areas. The developer, PI Renewables, has used its right to appeal to force a Public Local Inquiry.

John Low, Policy Officer for the Trust said: “Highland Council did the right thing last year when it opposed this development. The potential impacts on wild land are significant, with eight of the fourteen turbines and their associated roads and infrastructure sited within Wild Land Area 29.”

“Unfortunately, the developer has refused to accept the decision and forced an expensive and time-consuming Public Local Inquiry – a right that would not have been available to those opposing the scheme had the decision gone the other way.”

Some or all of the 115-metre turbines would be visible from significant areas of Wild land Area 29 and beyond. It would also be visible from main roads and from the iconic ‘Kyle Line’ between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh.

“Many travellers on the road and rail routes are tourists who will be shocked to see this iconic landscape scarred by large-scale industrial development,” said John Low.

“Ultimately the decision will be taken by the Scottish Government, which has recently refused consent for three proposed wind farms on wild land. By rejecting Carn Gorm, and two others in the pipeline further north, the government can send a strong message to developers that our wild land is not a commodity to exploited.”

“Essentially this Inquiry is about protecting wild land in line with national planning policy, which since 2014 has recognised wild land as an important national asset.”