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Anger over claims windfarm decision leaked to energy company

Anti-windfarm campaigners are furious that an electricity giant has started consultations on a powerline for a windfarm that does not yet have planning permission.

A decision on the Allt Duine windfarm has been awaited from the Scottish Government for some time and is not expected until after the General Election.

Opponents have questioned whether the decision has been leaked to Scottish and Southern Electric Power Distribution (SSEPD) ahead of a public announcement.

The company’s eight-week consultation on a proposed route for the power line ends on May 15.

But members of the Save the Monadhliath Mountains (SMM) group believe that the process is premature given that consent has not been granted.

And they claim that if the windfarm is refused, the consultation will have been a waste of money.

Yesterday the energy firm denied that they knew details of the Scottish Government’s decision and said that their connection proposals were in the early stages of development.

The Allt Duine windfarm proposals, being pursued by RWE Innogy, involve 31 turbines on the Alvie, Dalraddy and Dunachton estates. The site is close to the Cairngorms National Park boundary.

Opponents to the plans included Highland Council, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the John Muir Trust and a public inquiry was held in 2012.

The SMM group has now sent a “strongly worded letter” to energy regulator Ofgem expressing its “deep concern” about the public consultation.

Group spokesman John Stevenson said: “After an exhaustive and expensive public inquiry, the SMM campaign believes the eight-week consultation, including public exhibitions, is either premature, a complete waste of public resources and people’s time or an indication that Scottish and Southern Electric Power Distribution (SSEPD) know the minister’s decision in advance of it being published.

“In spite of the universal opposition to the scheme – the Allt Duine windfarm application is opposed by all four statutory consultees and the local community council – the consultation on the proposed transmission to the site has commenced. This raises questions regarding the probity of the decision-making process.

“With that in mind, the SMM campaign urgently requests that Ofgem seek confirmation in writing that no communication has taken place between the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit about either the timetable or the likely outcome of the determination.”