Wind Farm Developments

Brian Heaton

Again in the period since the last Mountain Views issue there have been no new applications which the Trust has responded to. Even in areas which we would not feel were within our remit the number submitted has been minimal. This is perhaps reflecting the reduced financial returns on building them but with improvements in the efficiency of wind generators this will change in future. We are however expecting the formal application to be submitted in September or soon afterwards for the Glen Dye wind farm which has been referred to in several past Mountain View issues. This application we must object to and all members of the Trust are strongly encouraged to submit an objection. If anyone is not too sure of the form an objection should take NEMT would be happy to send a template.

Earlier in the year there was some good news when the Scottish Government finally refused two proposed developments in Wild Land Areas. An application by Muirhall Energy for a 20 turbine farm at Caplich in Sutherland was deemed to cause "significant harm" to Wild Land Areas 34 (Reay-Cassley) and 29 (Rhiddoroch-Beinn Dearg-Ben Wyvis) and would compromise the natural environment, amenity and heritage resources of these areas. A second inquiry into an application for a development for a 13 turbine farm at Culachy, which is near Fort William, was refused on the grounds that it would "compromise the Braeroy-Creag Meagaidh-Glenshirra Wild Land Area (WLA19)".

However the Scottish Ministers approved the Strathy South Wind Farm on the edge of the flow country peatlands in Sutherland. In May the John Muir Trust were also forced to pay a total of £125,000 after it finally lost a judicial review regarding the construction of the wind farm at Stronelairg in the wild land in the Monadhliath mountains near Loch Ness. Although this was significantly less than the sums claimed by the Scottish Government and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) it is clearly a large sum. The Scottish Government's share was £75,000 and the SSE's £50,000. The SSE did donate their part to the South of Loch Ness Trail project.

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