Conservationists at the John Muir Trust have started a campaign to 'save' Reay-Cassley, area 34 on Scotland's official map of Wild Land Areas, which is currently the subject of three separate major wind farm planning applications.
The Trust fears that if these developments are approved the resultant intrusion will undermine the integrity of the entire Scottish Natural Heritage Wild Land Areas map, a project that the Scottish Government last year promised would be incorporated into planning policy.
Two of the applications – Glencassley and Sallachy – are now awaiting a decision by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, while the third, Caplich, still has to be considered by Highland Council before possibly going to the Scottish Government for final approval too. The Area 34 projects are just three among a bigger backlog of wind farm projects in officially recognised wild land areas, planning applications that predate the adoption of the wild land mapping.
Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust said:
'Last year the Scottish Government took the historic step of adopting an official wild land map of Scotland, underpinned by a national planning strategy which explicitly states that these areas are ‘very sensitive to any form of intrusive human activity and have little or no capacity to accept new development.''
'These decisions by the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament had overwhelming public support as measured by two opinion polls and two public consultations.'
'A decision by the Minister to reject Sallachy and Glencassley would not only save Wild Land Area 34, it would also send a clear message to developers that these areas are national assets that will be protected by the Scottish Government.'
'That in turn will reduce future speculative applications, which are expensive and time-consuming for everyone involved.'
The Trust have produced a short film in support of their campaign:
- The SNH Wild Land Areas map can be seen here