Brian Heaton

There have again been no new wind farm planning applications, which the Trust were aware of, that were felt it was justified to submit an objection to. The number of new on-shore wind farm projects in the UK fell to its lowest level since 2011 last year. This is a direct reflection of stopping the subsidising of these projects four years ago by the UK government. This position has now changed and the government has removed the block by allowing on-shore schemes to compete for subsidies against solar power developments and off-shore wind farms. An auction will take place in 2021. Scottish Power had anticipated this and is reported to have preliminary plans in place for projects totalling 3GW of new capacity across Scotland. We anticipate that there will be a spate of new applications starting to come forward in the next year. Some will be completely new projects others are going to be an expansion of existing sites, probably effectively requesting that some of the previous planning conditions are removed.

We are aware of recent preliminary submissions to the Highland Council for a wind farm at Cloiche (this appears to be an extension of the near-by Stronelaird complex) and an extension of the Corriegarth wind farm (near Gorthleck). Both of these are on the north side of Monadhliath. Due to their preliminary nature there is insufficient detail for us to comment on. We have requested that the Council keep us informed of any full planning applications which would allow us to make comment if we felt it was necessary. The planning decision on the Glen Dye wind farm is still with the Ministers and we are unaware of even rumours of where they were in their deliberations before the very large amount of work they must all now be having to undertake because of the Corona Virus epidemic.

Following our letter to the Scottish Consents Unit of the Scottish Government objecting to the development of the wind farm at Glen Shero the Trust was given the opportunity to speak at the public enquiry concerning it (when these are allowed to take place again). This would have involved a major amount of work as it would be subject to cross examination by a barrister acting for the developer. Prudence dictated that we allow representatives from the John Muir Trust and Mountaineering Scotland to represent our views. The points we made in our letter will however be part of the evidence considered by the Recorder.

The Highland Council have a very good map of wind farms showing the current status of all applications. This is interactive and shows the ones in the various stages from planning to operational.

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