A huge and highly controversial windfarm in the Monadhliath mountains looks set to go ahead once more after judges overturned the decision of last years’ judicial review following an appeal.
The windfarm had originally been given planning consent by the Scottish Government in 2014, but wild land conservation charity the John Muir Trust had challenged the decision, and a judicial review last December judges had found that the government’s decision had been “defective”, overturning the plans.
However SSE and the Scottish Government appealed against the ruling, and judges have now overturned the judicial review.
The original decision to grant consent by Scottish Ministers went against the advice of the Scottish Government’s own advisors Scottish Natural Heritage – who advised that a wind farm should not be built at Stronelairg because of its wild land qualities.
The John Muir Trust said it was disappointed by the decision and is exploring its options. Chief executive Stuart Brooks said: “We took out this legal action reluctantly because of the sheer scale of the development proposed by SSE in an area of wild land, the potential ecological damage to a vast area of peatland and the breadth of opposition – which included Scottish Natural Heritage, the Cairngorms National Park Authority the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and three out of four local councillors. Objectors outnumbered supporters of the application by a margin of 15 to one.
“Lord Jones, in the initial judicial review, found in favour of the trust’s legal arguments that the Scottish Government had not followed the correct planning process. The Inner House judges have disagreed with that assessment. We are now taking further legal advice and considering options.
“We are grateful for all the support we have received from our members and the public, including over a thousand financial donations.”