IT’S very good new for those who have campaigned against the proposal for the 34-turbine Glenmorie windfarm near Ardgay in Sutherland.
This morning the Energy Minister Fergus Ewing issued a notice saying that he is refusing permission, following last year’s public Inquiry.
What is really good news is that the refusal is because “the wind farm would cause unacceptable landscape and visual impact, including on wild land.”
That last point is vital and in a sense history has been made this morning. The Glenmorie proposal was for a 34-turbine windfarm at Kildermorie and Glencalvie Estate near Ardgay, and was sited within an area of wild land, as identified on the SNH Wild Land.
That means the Glenmorie proposal is the first to be refused on the grounds that it would be sited on recognised wild land as described in the Scottish Governments’s recent Third National Planning Framework.
While the Government’s Scottish Planning Policy on wild land and the accompanying SNH Wild Land Map were generally given a welcome by Scotland’s outdoors NGO’s, there has been a certain measure of uncertainty over the promises of protection for those areas contained in the Wild Land Map.
In his statement Mr Ewing said:
“Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland, and I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefits from renewable energy. We need a balanced approach in taking forward this policy and have to consider what impact any development would have on the local area.
The refusal of the Glenmorie proposal is a very positive step forward towards re-assuring Scotland’s walkers and climbers that the Scottish Government is sincere about protecting wild land in Scotland.
All eyes will now turn to the imminent announcement regarding the Allt Duine windfarm in the Monadh Liath, another proposal which is contained within an area of the Wild Land map.