SSE accepts Stronelairg settlement

SSE has accepted an out of court settlement, with the John Muir Trust, of £50,000 in relation to the expenses it incurred in the Judicial Review of the consent decision for Stronelairg wind farm, and sees this as an appropriate and reasonable conclusion to this matter.

SSE is passing on the full amount of this settlement to Visit Inverness Loch Ness, which is a not for profit organisation in the Great Glen. The funds will be used to contribute towards the South Loch Ness Trail, which is a project to complete a walking and cycling trail round the whole of Loch Ness. SSE is proud to have already played a part in the construction of this Trail, and hopes that this contribution will help achieve its completion and allow the benefits to be enjoyed by both locals and visitors to the area.

SSE is committed to being a sustainable company, helping to achieve environmental, social and economic well-being for current and future generations. This includes the appropriate development and delivery of renewable energy projects as an environmentally positive way of meeting people’s energy needs and addressing the key issue of climate change.

The Stronelairg project was designed in keeping with this ethos. Following statutory requirements it was democratically approved by the Highland Council Planning Committee, was not objected to by the local ward councillors hosting the development, and was granted consent from Scottish Ministers in 2014.

Construction work is progressing well on the project, which is sensitive to environmental considerations and will continue to bring important employment, supply chain and sustainability benefits to the communities around the project. This includes community funds established by SSE with a total value of £28.5m over 25 years. The contribution to Visit Inverness Loch Ness is in addition to these community funds.

Paul Cooley, SSE Director of Generation Development, said: ‘We are pleased to reach a reasonable conclusion with the John Muir Trust on the issue of expenses for the Judicial Review process. We are also happy to be able to gift those funds to the excellent South Loch Ness Trail project which will allow many members of the local community and tourists alike to enjoy all the Loch has to offer for years to come.’

Graeme Ambrose, CEO of Visit Inverness Loch Ness, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that SSE has chosen to pass on this £50,000 to Visit Inverness Loch Ness. The South Loch Ness Trail was established in 2011 and has progressed with the support of SSE, public agencies and local community groups. The completion of the final section above Fort Augustus has remained elusive but we are confident this contribution from SSE will ensure that it happens very soon. This transformational trail will then link up with the Great Glen Way and create a ‘360 degree’ long distance trail around Loch Ness.’