Judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh will today hear an appeal from Scottish Ministers and SSE against a judicial review which overturned the decision to give the go-ahead to a giant wind farm in the heart of the Monadhliath Mountains.
The 67-turbine Stronelairg proposal was approved by the Scottish Ministers in June 2014. But in December 2015, that decision was overturned in the Outer House of the Court of Session by the late Lord Jones in a judicial review by the John Muir Trust.
The project is now before the Inner House of the Court of Session after the Scottish Ministers and SSE lodged an appeal. The hearing is expected to run to Friday 6 May.
Stuart Brooks Chief Executive, John Muir Trust said: “We are disappointed that this application has come back to court, and we don’t believe it’s a sensible use of public money.
“We would have preferred that the developer SSE had been asked to resubmit the application and then follow due process.”
The decision by Scottish Ministers to allow the project to go ahead was taken despite the Scottish Government’s own advisors Scottish Natural Heritage advising that a wind farm should not be built at Stronelairg because of its Wild Land character.
For SSE a spokesman said: “Stronelairg is a carefully designed project sited on degraded peatland with the carbon payback estimated to be around 16 months.
“It would sit in a natural upland bowl, would not be seen from the Great Glen’s key tourist routes, and would be entirely invisible from Loch Ness. Stronelairg would utilise extensive existing infrastructure at our Glendoe hydro scheme.
“The project would bring significant benefits to the local and wider economy. It was strongly supported by many local stakeholders, was not opposed by the local community council and was supported by the Highland Council planning committee.”