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Scotland: Landmark court ruling casts doubt on legality of wind farms

Tom Peterkin — The Scotsman — October 3, 2013

Scottish Government intends to appeal ruling.

ALEX Salmond’s green energy programme has suffered a setback from a landmark court ruling which casts doubt on the legality of many wind farm developments in Scotland.

Anti-wind farm campaigners have seized on a Court of Session opinion by Lady Clark of Calton that almost all turbines require an electricity-generating licence from the regulator Ofgem before planning consent is given.

Those opposing wind farms believe the ruling could stem the tide of turbines being built across Scotland.

The Scotsman has learned that Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has written to the Scottish Government demanding that an application for a RWE Npower Renewables wind farm at Rowantree, near Oxton, be refused.

Lawyers for the council believe that Lady Clark’s ruling, published last week, creates a legal precedent which means that the Rowantree development should not go ahead.

According to legal experts, the local authority’s letter to the Scottish Government could be the first of many challenges that the wind industry could face.

Last night, the Scottish Government said it would appeal Lady Clark’s ruling, which has the potential to have far-reaching consequences for Mr Salmond’s vision of making Scotland a renewables world leader.

“There is little doubt other hard-pressed local authorities will follow in SBC’s footsteps”, said Graham Lang, chair of national anti-wind farm alliance Scotland Against Spin.

“Scotland is being besieged by speculative wind farm applications which are time-consuming and expensive for local planning departments, and increasingly unpopular with the communities they threaten.”

Anti-wind farm campaigners have been given hope by Lady Clark’s reaction to her discovery that one of the largest wind farms planned for the UK did not have an electricity generating licence from Ofgem.

In a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s decision to approve a 103-turbine Viking Energy development on Shetland, Lady Clark also found that ministers had not taken enough account of the development’s impact on the bird population.  Read full article, here….

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