Stuart Young (Letters, May 31) explains how the wishes of communities in Scotland on windfarms can be overruled by the Scottish Government. It seems the Government does not listen to anyone who disagrees with ITS views, even one of the largest wildlife charities, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Four offshore windfarms off the coast of Scotland have just been consented after two court cases. The RSPB took the case to the courts because of the acknowledged harm to internationally protected sea birds. Thousands of gannets, puffins and kittiwakes are predicted to die each year. The Government thought the harm acceptable. The Lord Ordinary accepted the Judicial Review and agreed with the RSPB, but the developer went to a higher court where the case was dismissed. Scotland’s top judge said: “Despite paying lip service to the correct legal test for judicial review, the Lord Ordinary has strayed well beyond the limits of testing the legality of the process and has turned himself into the decision maker following what appears to have been treated as an appeal against the respondent’s decision on the facts.
“He has acted, almost, as if he were the reporter at such an inquiry, as a finder of fact on matters of scientific fact and methodology which whatever the judge’s own particular skills may be, are not within the proper province of a court of review.
“For this reason alone, his decision on this ground cannot be sustained.”
Section 36 windfarm decisions are not made by parliament and are made by unelected public employees and signed off by ministers. There is no appeal system in which the merits of the case can be considered. I always assumed that one could always refer matters to the courts as wildlife and places are protected by environmental laws, but this proves it is not so.
Where is the possibility of challenging the evidence and enforcing environmental protection under current law?
I hope all RSPB members and others will encourage the society to take this matter to the Supreme, and if necessary, the European Court. Anyone who has been on a boat trip to the Bass Rock to see the gannets, puffins, razorbills and many more seabirds will know that it is one of the wonders of the world. We are custodians of 60 per cent of the world’s gannet population and I am ashamed of our Government playing roulette with all these wonderful species.
Dykeneuk, Peebles Road, Penicuik, Midlothian.
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