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Charity abandons fight against 'biggest Highland wind farm'

The John Muir Trust says it will not take any further legal action over the Stronelairg scheme.

Wind farm: John Muir Trust abandons battle against Stronelairg (file pic).
Wind farm: John Muir Trust abandons battle against Stronelairg (file pic). © HEMEDIA / SWNS Group

A conservation charity has abandoned its fight against a 67-turbine wind farm in the Highlands.

The John Muir Trust says it will not take any further legal action over the Stronelairg scheme.

It was given the go-ahead last week, when judges overturned a decision to block the development.

The Trust says it will be the largest wind farm in the Highlands.

A John Muir spokesman said: "The decision to approve the scheme flew in the face of expert advice from the government's own advisory body, Scottish Natural Heritage, which stated that the development would destroy the character of one of Scotland's key areas of wild land.

"The application was also opposed by the Cairngorms National Park Authority, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and three out of four local councillors, while written objections from the public outnumbered letters of support by 15 to one.

"Yet there was no opportunity for thorough public scrutiny of the proposal: because there was no objection from the relevant Highland Council planning committee, there was no requirement for a Public Local Inquiry.

"We believe that decision was based on flawed advice from planning officials."

They added: "Fighting this battle has consumed a significant amount of time and money [but] we have come to the conclusion that we have reached the end of the road with our legal action."

Mountaineering Scotland - formerly known as the Mountaineering Council of Scotland - plans to donate £5000 to help the John Muir Trust cover its legal costs.

It will be responsible for paying part of SSE and the Scottish Government's legal fees, although how much has not yet been decided.

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