Andrew Bachell: 'better ways to sustainability'

Andrew Bachell: 'better ways to sustainability'

A conservation charity has welcomed ministers’ rejection of plans for two windfarms in wild land areas of the Highlands.

But the John Muir Trust said it was disappointed a scheme on the edge of Sutherland’s Flow Country was given the go-ahead.

The Scottish Government turned down two proposals for major developments, one at Caplich in Sutherland and another at Culachy near Fort Augustus.

Both were the subject of public local inquires.

Muirhall Energy’s application to build 20 wind turbines at Caplich would cause significant harm to two wild land areas and ‘would compromise the natural environment, amenity and heritage resources of these areas’, the inquiry found.

RES’s plans for a 13-turbine development at Culachy were turned down as they would compromise another wild land area and ‘would not be the right development in the right place’.

John Muir Trust chief executive Andrew Bachell said: “We are delighted at these decisions and pleased that the Scottish Government is sending out a strong message that our wild and scenic places are of national importance.

“Since the wild land areas map was approved in 2014, 10 windfarms with a total of nearly 200 turbines have been refused because of their impact on these landscapes and ecosystems.

”We would hope that these latest decisions will help persuade developers to focus their efforts on less sensitive areas.

“We believe that there are better ways to secure a sustainable economic future than to compromise the landscapes for which the northern Highlands are known around the world.”

But the trust expressed regret that Scottish ministers approved the Strathy South windfarm on the edge of the Flow Country peatlands in Sutherland.

“We recognise the need for renewable energy but unnecessarily wrecking one part of the environment in exchange for another does not make sense.”

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