Published: 17/10/2013 12:09 - Updated: 17/10/2013 12:19

Dramatic turn in Easter Ross wind farm plan

A technical representation by the company of how the wind farm would look from the Ben Wyvis viewpoint.
A technical representation by the company of how the wind farm would look from the Ben Wyvis viewpoint.

A CAMPAIGN group is calling on Highland Council to halt a Public Local Inquiry into a controversial wind farm in Easter Ross because it says it is "unlawful".

The dramatic move comes just four days before a local inquiry is due to sit in Ardross to consider proposals for the 34-turbine development at Glenmorie by Wind Energy.

The Save Our Straths group in Ardross, representing three community councils and local objectors, has written to the council’s chief executive Steve Barron, requesting that the council act immediately to halt the Public Local Inquiry (PLI), which starts on Monday.

On September 24, following a judicial review, Lady Clark of Calton ruled that the decision by Ministers to consent the massive Viking Wind Farm in Shetland was unlawful on at least two grounds, the most important of which was the fact that the developer did not possess an electricity generating licence, and was not exempt from the need to do so.

According to Save Our Straths, the company behind the Glenmorie development, Glenmorie LLP, has also failed to acquire such a licence and thus believes its application is also unlawful.

The campaign group says the legal basis for the PLI on Glenmorie has been fatally undermined.

John Edmondson, of Save Our Straths and secretary of Ardross Community Council, said: "Scottish Government has informed our QC that it will not issue instructions to halt the Glenmorie PLI. By insisting that the PLI proceeds, Scottish Ministers are riding roughshod over a landmark ruling in the Court of Session. It seems that they are prepared to ignore the ruling of the Courts in the reckless pursuit of their ambitious renewables goals, ignoring the rule of law in the process."

He added: "We have today written to the Chief Executive of Highland Council, asking that it, as a party to the PLI, seek an immediate interdict to stop what is (given Lady Clark’s ruling) an unlawful process and indeed an abuse of power. Governments and people have always respected the rule of the Courts. The Rule of Law is part of the fabric of our society and at the heart of our Constitution. Furthermore if, in the circumstances, the PLI was allowed to proceed, then it is certain that a great deal of public money will be wasted, since any decision will be open to challenge." The Glenmorie wind farm – for 34 turbines, each 125m high – is being promoted by Wind Energy, a subsidiary of US corporation, AES.

The PLI is due to start at 10am on Monday at Ardross Hall.

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