Monadhliath is soon to be the site of the largest single industrial energy development in Highland Scotland. Unless we stop it.
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Support urged for ‘David against Goliath’
Mountaineers ask people to support John Muir Trust in legal challenge to Scottish Government and SSE
People who care about Scotland’s wild landscape have been urged to support a fundraising appeal by a conservation charity in its bid to mount a legal fight against the Scottish Government and energy giant Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) made the appeal after news that the Court of Session has refused a move which would have capped the legal costs incurred by the John Muir Trust in its challenge against the decision process which led to the approval of a controversial wind farm in the Monadhliath Mountains.
The John Muir Trust had applied for a Protective Expenses Order (PEO) as the first stage of a legal challenge to the Scottish Government’s decision earlier this year to consent a giant wind farm at Stronelairg, in the Monadhliath Mountains.
In theory, the Protective Expenses Order procedure exists to make it possible for anyone, including charities or communities, to take a case in the courts to protect the environment in the public interest, by limiting their liability for the other side’s costs.
David Gibson, Chief Officer of the MCofS said: “Anyone interested in the functioning of a democratic planning process will see the logic of why there should be a judicial review, and why a charity acting in the public interest should have its legal costs protected.
“It’s about the decision by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to grant planning consent to a 67-turbine industrial development at Stronelairg, in the heart of the Monadhliath mountains and with a footprint the size of Inverness, without any Public Local Inquiry, immediately after the Scottish Government asked SNH to remove Stronelairg and the surrounding area from the final version of the Wild Land Areas map.
“The lack of recourse to a Protective Expenses Order means it’s David the charitable trust against the Goliaths of the Scottish Government and SSE in the courts.
“We urge anyone interested in saving what little remains of Scotland’s wild land to support the John Muir Trust’s appeal for funds to help with the costs of their legal challenge.”