Charity fights SSE Stronelairg wind

Conservation charity The John Muir Trust has lodged a petition with Scotland’s Court of Session asking for a judicial review of energy minister Fergus Ewing’s decision to grant consent to the 67-turbine Stronelairg​ wind farm in the Monadhliath Mountains without a Public Local Inquiry.

"We believe the decision to give the go-ahead to Stronelairg without a Public Local Inquiry is not consistent with Scottish Government measures to protect the best areas of wild land from industrialisation," said John Hutchison, chairman of the charity, adding that Stronelairg is the largest wind project ever approved in the Highlands.

"Because of the scale of the development, and the breadth of opposition to it, we believe it should have been the subject of a Public Local Inquiry. In the absence of proper democratic scrutiny, our Trustees feel we had no choice but to seek a judicial review of the decision," Hutchison said.

The Scottish government in June gave the green light to the up-to 240MW Stronelairg project planned by SSE, which will be sited on the Garrogie Estate, near the utility’s Glendoe hydro plant.

An original plan for an 83-turbine plant had been refused earlier, on the grounds of impacts on the local landscape. However, SSE said the project will not be visible from major tourist sites such as Great Glen and Loch Ness.

The Scottish Government rejected earlier this month the development of the smaller AES-backed 114MW Glenmorie, citing proximity to wild land as one of the key grounds for refusal.