The public inquiry into the proposed Glenmorie Wind Farm got underway yesterday afternoon (Monday) after the reporter Katrina Rice ruled she was not persuaded there was sufficient reason to suspend proceedings.
Campaigners had claimed that the legal basis of the Ardross hearing into the proposed 34-turbine development had been thrown into confusion as a result of a landmark ruling in the Court of Session.
Lady Clark of Calton ruled planning consent for the Viking Wind Farm in Shetland was unlawful on several grounds – one of which was that the developer did not have an eletricity-generating licence.
The campaigners claimed the company behind the Glenmorie development, Glenmorie LLP, had also failed to acquire such a licence which made its application also unlawful.
John Campbell QC on behalf of the Save Our Straths group – the Ardross-based campaign group opposing the wind farm – had lodged legal papers on Friday asking that the inquiry be sisted pending resolution of the other wind farm case.
Legal submissions were made by him and others on Monday morning at the Ardross Community Hall and after a lengthy deliberation the reporter, Ms Rice, decided the public local inquiry should go ahead at 1.30pm
The public local inquiry is being held following Highland Council’s North Planning Committee’s unanimous decision in February to raise an objection against the Glenmorie project.
Before the inquiry got underway the John Muir Trust released a statement, again repeating its strong opposition to the development.
John Hutchison, who is chairman of the John Muir Trust and a resident of the Highlands, said:
“Councillors from across all political parties came together to object to this giant development on the grounds that it will disrupt wildlife and disfigure a scenic wild landscape.
“The Scottish Government was flooded with hundreds of letters of opposition. It would be a travesty of democracy if this development were to be steamrollered through in the face of such widespread and deep-rooted opposition from the community.”
Save Our Straths group, representing three community councils and local objectors, had written to Highland Council last week requesting that it act immediately to halt the “unlawful process” of the public local inquiry.
John Edmondson, spokesperson for Save Our Straths and secretary of the Ardross Community Council, said: “Scottish Government has informed our QC that it will not issue instructions to halt the Glenmorie PLI. By insisting that the PLI proceeds, Scottish Ministers are riding roughshod over a landmark ruling in the Court of Session. It seems that they are prepared to ignore the ruling of the Courts in the reckless pursuit of their ambitious renewables goals, ignoring the rule of law in the process.”
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