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Highland councillors have approved plans for three hydro schemes in Glen Etive today (Wednesday March 29), taking the total number of schemes to be built in the iconic glen to seven.
Four of Dickins Hydro Ltd’s seven hydropower applications were granted planning permission by Highland councillors last month. However, the three remaining schemes – those situated within the designated Wild Land Area – were referred back to the full council for review after a public backlash.
Today, at a special meeting in Inverness, councillors had their final say on the matter, approving all three of the Wild Land Area Schemes.
Campaign group Save Glen Etive, which help amass 12,000 signatories to a petition for the schemes to be rejected, said it is ‘hugely disappointed’ by the council’s decision.
‘A precedent is surely now set for other developments in our “protected” landscapes,’ the group stated.
Glen Etive is currently designated as a National Scenic Area, while some of the hydro schemes fall within a protected Wild Land Areas in the glen. This prompted Lochaber councillor Andrew Baxter to successfully request for a review of these applications. Mr Baxter believes that Wild Land Area in Glen Etive should be ‘sacrosanct’.
Stuart Younie, Chief Executive Officer of Mountaineering Scotland, hopes this decision does not set a ‘dangerous precedent’.
‘This is a disappointing decision by Highland Council,’ he said. ‘It brings into question the purpose and value of allocating special designations which are intended to help protect our finest landscapes. We understand the arguments being made in support of the proposed developments but feel there was a wider point of principle at stake today.’
More to come on this story.