Nature reserve windfarm scrapped and four others on hold in the Forth and Tay Firths in day of conservationist victories
Plans for a windfarm at Scotland’s largest nature reserve have been axed and a raft of others have been legally stalled in a victory for campaigners and conservationists.
The Court of Session has ruled in favour of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in its challenge against the Scottish Government’s decisions to permit four schemes in the Forth and Tay Firths.
Lord Stewart has ordered ministers to reconsider their consent after the RSPB argued consideration was not given to rare wildlife and that the Government had failed to properly consult interested parties regarding environmental concerns surrounding the project.
The Government had previously estimated the windfarms could generate up to £1.2billion for the national economy, create over 13,500 jobs and provide enough power for 1.4 million homes.
In a separate development, plans for turbines on the hills facing Wigtown Bay on the Galloway coast have been refused after a decision by Dumfries and Galloway Council was upheld by ministers.
The Government’s Reporter, who adjudicates on contentious planning matters, refused an appeal by green energy firm Ecotricity “because of the significant adverse impacts the proposal would have on the regional scenic area and the landscape”.
Objections by Historic Scotland to the scheme due to the proximity of Neolithic standing stones were also a factor in the seven turbine scheme being rejected.
Campaigners had claimed the turbines would “scar the Galloway Hills and views from the Machars Coast indefinitely”, interfere with plans for further breeding eagles to be introduced in area already home to peregrine falcons, hen harriers, ospreys and red kites.
With Wigtown home to an increasingly popular literary festival and an inspiration for Robert Burns, J M Barrie and Gavin Maxwell, author of Ring of Bright Water, there were also claims the plans would “form a heinous backdrop to Scotland’s National Book Town”.
The Government Reporter, Trevor Croft, said: “I do not consider that the undoubted renewable energy benefits of the proposal are sufficient to outweigh the adverse impacts on landscape, visual receptors and the cultural heritage. I have considered all the other matters raised, but there are none which would lead me to alter my conclusions.”
Martin Green, of the Save Wigtown Bay campaign, said the decision had helped safeguard tourist industry jobs.
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