David Gibson: 'decision is foolhardy'

David Gibson: 'decision is foolhardy'

Mountaineers accused the Scottish Government of riding roughshod over the law in the rush to push through a windfarm application.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland appealed to delegates at the Scottish National Party’s conference to rein in the Holyrood Government’s enthusiasm for building turbines in sensitive areas.

The MCofS added its voice to growing demands to postpone a public inquiry due to take place next week into plans for a 34-turbine windfarm at Glenmorie in the Highlands.

The council, which represents 12,000 hillwalkers, climbers and mountaineers north of the border, says a court ruling means large windfarm developments are subject to certain stipulations.

An MCofS spokesperson said: “A leading lawyer has condemned the Government’s decision to push ahead with the public local inquiry despite a legal decision by Lady Clark of Calton which states that applicants for large windfarms must be properly licensed or exempt from licensing.

“As the Glenmorie developers have no such licence or exemption, their application should be halted.

“However, a letter to John Campbell QC from the Energy and Climate Change Directorate said it would not stop the inquiry because ministers disagree with the judge and will be making an appeal.”

David Gibson, MCofS chief officer, said: “There is deep concern among SNP supporters that this decision is foolhardy. It is entirely wrong for a government to only uphold the legal decisions it likes and ignore the others.

“Conference delegates need to warn their government that it increasingly looks obsessed with filling the wallets of big electricity companies, and seems to care nothing for the damage that badly sited windfarms do to local communities and Scotland’s natural heritage.

“The Scottish Government can only restore its reputation by postponing the Glenmorie inquiry until this important legal issue is resolved.”

The MCofS is one of many organisations fighting the highly controversial proposals to build a large wind farm on the open and wild landscape between Bonar Bridge and Dingwall in Easter Ross.

It said Lady Clark’s decision referred to the Viking Energy wind farm in Shetland, which confirmed that applicants for generating stations with a capacity of over 50MW must be either licensed or exempt from licensing.

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