Wind farm application to face judicial review over threat to wildcats
A decision granting planning permission for a new wind farm on the habitat of the endangered wildcat population is to face judicial review.
Wildcat Haven has raised £250,000 over four years to challenge the decision of Scottish ministers in court. Its petition to save the Clashindarroch Forest in Aberdeenshire for wildcats has received over one million signatures.
Swedish company Vattenfall Wind Power Limited made an application for a wind farm on the site in 2019. It was granted in 2023.
Clashindarroch Forest is a vital habitat for the Scottish wildcat – one of the most endangered animals in the world.
Dr Paul O’Donoghue, director of Wildcat Haven, said: “This application sets a very dangerous precedent for wildlife conservation in Scotland. If you can’t protect the most important population of wildcats then what on earth can you protect?” said Dr Paul O’donoghue, director of Wildcat Haven.”
The judicial review revolves around the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), published a few months before the wind farm plans were approved.
The decision, according to Wildcat Haven, falls foul of NPF4, which remarks on Scotland’s “nature crisis”.
Dr O’Donoghue told The Herald: “There are so many open hills in Scotland that wind farms could go on, why chop down the most important site in the country for Scottish wildcats?
“How is this being allowed to happen? Why are ministers, who are constantly talking about the biodiversity crisis, signing this off? It just seems complete and utter greenwashing.
“Evidence presented at the public inquiry showed that wildcat kittens can be killed and adults displaced during the construction phase. It is astonishing that despite this, Scottish Ministers have signed the development off.
“If this isn’t stopped, they will have wildcat blood on their hands.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scottish Ministers have been served a petition for judicial review. As the legal process is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”