Area 34 campaign update

The Public Local Inquiry into the Caplich wind farm proposal in the far north of Scotland has moved a step closer.

Area 34 under threat stamp artwork detail

News from the website of the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) of the Scottish Government shows that the case is now “ready for allocation to Reporter.”

The Trust believes the Caplich development would threaten nationally important wild land in Wild Land Area 34. The wind farm would see the erection of 20 turbines up to 132 metres high and the construction of an extensive network of access roads.

In 2015 the John Muir Trust launched a campaign to protect Wild Land Area 34 in the far north of Scotland from the threat posed by three wind farm proposals. Together, these could have seen 65 turbines up to 132m high, with many visible from famous peaks such as Stac Pollaidh and Ben More Assynt.

The Trust was delighted when, in November 2015, the Scottish Government refused two of the applications - Glencassley and Sallachy. There was further encouragement in February this year when Highland Council objected to the Caplich proposal, leaving the decision in the hands of the Scottish Government.

The Trust has worked hard, with the support of our members and those concerned about the future for wild land in Scotland, to highlight that these three developments were inappropriate for wild land, and to encourage the Scottish Government to use the Wild Land Areas map to provide protection.. We therefore welcomed the decision in February by Highland councillors and planners to object to Caplich. Based on the Scottish Government’s decision with respect to Glencassley and Sallachy last year we are hopeful for a similar outcome with regards to Caplich and that the strong case for protecting Scotland’s wild land once again comes through during the Inquiry into the Caplich proposal.

Wild Land Area 34 in the far north of Scotland is one of 42 Wild Land Areas recognised as recently as 2015 by the Scottish Government as nationally important. Under Scottish planning policy adopted in 2014, Wild Land Areas have a degree of protection from wind farm development.

Head of Policy, Helen McDade, said:- “We have long argued that instead of covering Scotland’s wild land with turbines, pylons, power lines and access tracks, these areas could be transformed into living landscapes of trees and wildlife, with people and local communities benefitting from nature-based jobs and year-round tourism.”

Watch the film that we used to launch our campaign in May 2015 and raise awareness of the threat to this area.

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Update April 2018 - Caplich refused