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Plea to write-off bill for windfarm fight  

Credit:  By Iain Ramage | The Press and Journal | 6 August 2016 | www.pressandjournal.co.uk ~~

The conservation charity the John Muir Trust is urging people to put pressure on the Scottish Government and power firm SSE to write off its massive legal bill for challenging plans for the Highlands’ biggest windfarm yet.

The cost is not yet known.

The Stronelairg scheme planned for a site near Fort Augustus at the southern end of Loch Ness is the size of Inverness.

The Court of Session upheld an appeal by ministers and SSE in favour of consenting the 67-turbine wind park.

The trust revealed last week it would not appeal to the Supreme Court because of the cost of further legal action.

It has now launched an online drive to encourage supporters to back its case for legal costs to be written off.

JMT is urging people to write to the media, their MSPs, the energy minister Paul Wheelhouse and SSE chairman Richard Gillingwater to make the point.

Speaking last night, its policy chief Helen McDade said: “The fact that the trust won in the first round of the legal process shows that this was a case that had merit.

“In the subsequent appeal, the court found against us. However, many people would think it unreasonable that a charity which had taken the case to protect the environment should have to pay costs for a full legal team not only for the Scottish Government but also for one of the big six energy companies.

“This is a David and Goliath situation. The Scottish Government’s reputation would only be enhanced by not claiming costs. In the same way, SSE could demonstrate that they accept there is a legitimate role for environmental organisations in the planning process.”

A spokeswoman for SSE said: “A decision on costs and levels of costs will be considered by the court in due course.”

She added: “Stronelairg is a carefully designed project that would bring significant benefits to the local and wider economy.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Ministers are considering their position.”

Source:  By Iain Ramage | The Press and Journal | 6 August 2016 | www.pressandjournal.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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