Scotland’s official Wild Land Areas should be a no-go zone for large-scale commercial wind farms.
That will be the message when representatives of the John Muir Trust are joined by cross-party MSPs outside Holyrood on Wednesday (21 February).
Within the current National Planning Framework, the Scottish Government states: “We also want to continue our strong protection for our wildest landscapes – wild land is a nationally important asset.”
However, in contrast to National Scenic Areas and National Parks, where windfarms are expressly forbidden, there is no clear-cut protection for Wild Land Areas.
And while a number of applications for commercial wind farms have been rejected because of their impact on wild land, one major development at Creag Riabhach near Altnaharra was approved in 2016, and other applications are awaiting a decision.
The JMT – along with Ramblers Scotland, Mountaineering Scotland and other organisations – is calling for Wild Land Areas to be given the same level of protection as National Scenic Areas and National Parks.
Helen McDade, head of policy for the charity, said: “We’re holding this event at Holyrood to call for clarity in the status of Wild Land Areas.
“A YouGov opinion poll last summer found that 52% strongly agree that Wild Land Areas “should be protected from large scale infrastructure, such as industrial wind farms, and super-quarries” – with a further 28% tending to agree.
“Yet there is ambiguity in the planning process, leading to a continuing stream of applications, which have to be considered by planners, councillors, ministers, local communities, government agencies and environmental charities. This consumes huge amounts of time and money for everyone involved.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding