Legal boost for Scottish wind farm

Plans for a 14-turbine wind farm in Scotland are back on the drawing board after a decision by the Scottish government to pull the plug on the project has been […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Plans for a 14-turbine wind farm in Scotland are back on the drawing board after a decision by the Scottish government to pull the plug on the project has been overturned by judges.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh quashed a decision by the government to reject the application for the 14-turbine Stacain wind farm near Inveraray.

The wind farm, to be built by Ridge Wind, was originally granted planning consent locally by Argyll and Bute Council in December 2007. However, in March 2008 the government overturned the project on the sole basis that it might one day fall within a Special Protection Area for golden eagles.

In court, the government conceded it failed to take into account new information which showed that effects on eagles had been over-estimated. As a result, the court quashed the decision.

The project may now revert to a public inquiry, which would allow full and proper evaluation of the scientific evidence presented by Stacain that the wind farm presents no material risk to golden eagles.

A spokesperson for Stacain said: “We had no choice to take this matter to court not only for this project, but to avoid the setting of a dangerous precedent for the wind industry.

“Stacain has been in the planning process since 2005 and we are now hopeful that our application will be given full and due consideration. Nevertheless, the court’s decision is positive news for the wind industry and for the future of wind energy development in Scotland.”