We objected to the application in July 2005 and maintained the objection in May 2007 on the grounds of impacts on golden eagle. The application first went before Argyll and Bute planning committee in September 2007. The planning officer's report recommended refusal due to adverse ornithological and landscape impacts but councillors were minded to go against this recommendation and approve the application. However, due to legal issues, the decision was deferred.
Despite our objection and an objection from SNH, Argyll and Bute Council approved the application at second committee in December 2007 against the planning officer's recommendation for refusal. The application was notified to Scottish Ministers due to the outstanding objection from SNH (as a statutory consultee). Scottish Ministers were successfully lobbied to call in the application for their own determination. Ministers called a public local inquiry, which sat in November 2008. In the interests of simplifying the inquiry process, we did not appear at the inquiry but provided support for SNH's case.
In October 2009, Scottish Ministers refused the application due to unacceptable effects on golden eagle in accordance with the reporter's recommendations following the Public Local Inquiry. The reporter concluded that the likely SPA designation and the subsequent requirement to abide by the Habitats Regulations were important material considerations and that an adverse impact on the potential golden eagle site could not be ruled out.
In April 2010, the Court of Session overturned Scottish Ministers' refusal of planning permission, on a technicality. In the meantime, Glen Etive & Glen Fyne had been formally proposed as an SPA for golden eagle. A second set of public inquiry hearings took place in November 2010.
In July 2011, in accordance with the Public Local Inquiry Reporter's recommendations, Scottish Minsters once again refused the application due to unacceptable impacts on golden eagles (this time unequivocally as part of the qualifying interest of an SPA).
In August 2011, the developer appealed Scottish Ministers' second refusal of the scheme, on the grounds that the inquiry reporter had applied the Habitats Regulations tests incorrectly. The appeal was heard in the autumn of 2012, and in December 2012 the Court of Session upheld the findings of the second public inquiry, confirming that Scottish Ministers were correct to refuse the scheme. We hope the developers will now give up on this inappropriate proposal and concentrate on delivering much-needed renewables in less sensitive locations.