A shepherd who was concerned about ospreys and wildcats faces bankruptcy after losing a court battle to stop an energy company from building a wind farm.
Helen Douglas took RDS Element Power Limited to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to try to stop the firm’s plans for a green energy scheme at Tullymurdoch Farm in Alyth, Perthshire.
Lawyers acting for Ms Douglas claimed Perth & Kinross Council – the local authority that granted planning permission – did not properly assess the initiative’s impact on nearby wildlife.
Ms Douglas, who lives close to the proposed wind farm, is concerned the proposal could affect animals who live nearby.
Her legal team claimed councillors didn’t follow European law in assessing the risk the farm posed to wildcats and ospreys.
She wanted Court of Session judge Lord Kinclaven to overturn the planning permission granted to the company.
Ms Douglas also wanted the local authority to make more investigations about the potential threat the wind farm poses to wildlife.
She also wanted the court to order the local authority to investigate ways in which the local wild life population could be protected.
However, in a written judgement issued yesterday, Lord Kinclaven ruled the proposed scheme was legal.
Ruling against Ms Douglas, Lord Kinclaven wrote: “In the whole circumstances, for the reasons outlines above, I shall sustain the first plea in law for the respondent and refuse the orders sought in the petition.”
But after the ruling, Ms Douglas said: “Destruction of our natural heritage masquerades as the pursuit of green energy. My sadness after this judgment is immense. In addition, I have to meet the costs. My passion for wildlife has probably bankrupted me.”
The company was granted permission in September 2015 to modify the size of the turbines that were going to be used at the Tullymurdoch scheme.
The firm was also granted permission the same month to install 11.8 miles of underground cables linking the Tullymurdoch Wind Farm to another green energy scheme at Welton of Creuchies. The cables would also connect the two wind farms to a primary sub station in Coupar Angus.
Ms Douglas’s lawyers claimed Perth & Kinross councillors didn’t have sufficient information before them to assess the impact the scheme would have on a pair of osprey nesting within 300 metres of the turbines.
The shepherd’s legal team argued it also didn’t properly assess the impact it would have on wildcat living nearby.
Ms Douglas’s legal team also claimed the council didn’t follow EU regulations concerning wildlife and that the council acted wrongly.
However, lawyers acting for the local authority and RDS Element Power argued all parties had acted correctly.
Lord Kinclaven wrote that after assessing the evidence in the case, he concluded the council and the company had acted properly.
He wrote: “In the whole circumstances, having regard to all the submissions of counsel, the documents before me and the authorities produced, I have reached the conclusion the submission made on behalf of the respondent and the interested party are well founded.
“In short, the council acted lawfully and within the powers in relation to both the modi- fication decision and the cable decision.
“Accordingly, the petition must be refused.”
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