Court overturns Stronelairg consent
Judge rules Scottish ministers did not take proper account of SNH concerns
The Court of Session in Edinburgh has upheld a legal challenge to consent for SSE’s up to 240MW Stronelairg wind farm in the Scottish Highlands.
Lord Jones ruled in favour of the John Muir Trust following a judicial review which challenged permission granted in June 2014 on a variety of grounds.
The judge dismissed a number of concerns but ruled that ministers failed to give proper reference to an objection lodged by watchdog Scottish Natural Heritage.
“Counsel for (JMT) is well-founded in saying that ministers did not take into account SNH’s objection in principle to any wind farm development at Stronelairg,” said Lord Jones in the ruling.
The court also ruled that proper consultation had not been carried out on revisions to the wind farm proposal made after the initial Section 36 application had been lodged.
JMT chief executive Stuart Brooks said the decision is "great news for all those who love Scotland’s wild land and wish to see it protected”.
He added: “Due to the impact this approval had on a wild land area . . . the Trust very reluctantly took this judicial review against the government. SSE should recognise that this was the wrong development, of the wrong size and in the wrong place."
The 67-turbine wind farm is planned for an upland area in the Monadhliath Mountains near SSE’s operational 100MW Glendoe hydro project (pictured).
SSE had provisionally included the wind farm in its Renewables Obligation pipeline, pending the outcome of the judicial review.