As news breaks of yet another tagged eagle lost to satellite tracking in the Monadhliath mountains (“RSPB fears golden eagle is latest victim of ‘raptor persecution’”, The Herald, August 11), I am left wondering how it is that the Scottish Government can leap to the defence of eagles, with stern words for the grouse shooting industry and promises of an investigation, while the ink is still drying on the paperwork that will pave the way for a massive 67-turbine wind farm the size of Inverness on those same Monadhliath mountains, one of Scotland’s last remaining places of true wildness and a haven for wildlife, including eagles.
The Scottish Government and SSE recently won their appeal to have consent for Stronelairg reinstated after an earlier ruling had found in favour of wild land charity John Muir Trust, which had sought a judicial review to halt the project. Government ministers argued successfully that “safeguarding” wild land does not mean protecting it from industrialisation; it simply means that measures will be taken to mitigate the impact of wind farm developments in those areas.
If the Scottish Government is truly committed to protecting Scotland’s wild land resource, would it please explain to the rest of us how its much-vaunted Wild Land Map (from which the Stronelairg area mysteriously disappeared on the eve of publication) can have any credibility when the same Government is actively engaged in promoting the destruction of remote upland areas and key wildlife habitats across Scotland?
Last time I looked there were no walls or fences in the sky to stop eagles moving from one section of airspace over the Monadhliath to another. The Stronelairg decision sets an ominous precedent for the treatment of wild land in Scotland. It is a far greater threat to the future of our eagle population than grouse moors ever could be.
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