Highlands & Islands

Stronelairg wind farm to go ahead after legal fight

Wind turbine Image copyright Thinkstock

A 67-turbine wind farm looks set to go ahead following a legal battle.

Energy giant SSE has proposed constructing the Stronelairg scheme on land close to its Glendoe hydro electric scheme near Fort Augustus.

Last year, landscape charity the John Muir Trust (JMT) secured a judicial review of the Scottish government's decision approving the project.

A judge said the decision reached was "defective", but judges have now upheld an appeal by the government and SSE.

JMT, which has argued that the turbines would "destroy the character" of wild land in the area, said it was disappointed by the decision.

Three judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh have held that the decision by the late Lord Jones last year must be recalled.

This now opens the way for the wind farm to go ahead.

'Considering options'

Stuart Brooks, JMT chief executive, said: "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."

He added: "We are grateful for all the support we have received from our members and the public, including over a thousand financial donations."

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse has welcomed the judges' decision.

He said: "This project will create jobs and generate important economic benefits for the Highlands and Islands economy.

"The wind farm is designed to produce electricity equivalent to the needs of more than 100,000 homes - a vital boost at a time when Scotland, the UK and Europe all need to ensure a secure energy supply for the future.

"It will also produce a further boost to Scotland's work in leading international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

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