The Scottish Government has refused planning permission for a 31-turbine wind parc at Allt Duine near Kincraig – a move supported by the John Muir Trust – which was proposed by RWE Innogy.
The vast majority – 141 – of the 165 representations/ lobbying submissions made to the Government were against the RWE Innogy plan; 24 were in favour.
John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, said the plan does not represent sustainable development and would result in ‘significant and unacceptable landscape and visual impacts on the Cairngorms National Park’ – an area of national importance for its natural and cultural heritage, and on wild land.
The decision follows a public local inquiry and Scottish Government consultations on the potential impacts of the wind farm on the Cairngorms National Park and on the implications of the development on new planning policies. Swinney said:
“The Scottish Government’s policy on wind farms strikes a careful balance between maximising Scotland’s huge green energy potential and protecting some of our most scenic landscape and wild areas.
We have been clear that wind farms can only be built in the right places and Scottish Planning Policy sets out rigorous steps to ensure wind farms are sited appropriately and sensitively.
“I have considered the Allt Duine application fully and have refused permission as the proposal would have a significant and unacceptable landscape and visual impacts in the local area, including on the Cairngorms National Park and on a wild land area.
“The Scottish Government remains fully committed to renewables and to achieving our target of 100% of our electricity demand coming from renewables by 2020.”
As well as the John Muir Trust, those opposed to the development included Highlands Cooncil, Save Monadhliath Mountains, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust, said: “The battle to save this precious area of wild land has been long and hard. We are delighted that Deputy First Minister John Swinney has come down on the side of the people and the landscape against the energy giant RWE.
“We are especially heartened by the Scottish Government’s growing recognition of the importance of landscape, which is in tune with the views of the big majority of the population of Scotland and of the Highlands as revealed in two major opinion surveys.
“We also welcome the Minister’s acknowledgement that Allt Duine would have adversely affected the Monadhliath Wild Land Area. Coming on top of recent decisions to reject wind farms that would have impacted on wild land areas in Glen Affric and Caithness, this gives us grounds for optimism.
“We would now ask that the Scottish Government demonstrates its unequivocal commitment to the long term future of wild land by rejecting Glencassley and Sallachy, two other major developments on wild land in the Highlands that are awaiting ministerial decisions.”