Danish billionaire takes on Scottish ministers over Highland windfarm

The area where the Creag Riabhach windfarm could be built
The area where the Creag Riabhach windfarm could be built

A Danish billionaire who owns nearly a dozen estates in Scotland is taking on the Scottish Government in a battle over a Highland windfarm.

Anders Povlsen is launching a judicial review into the decision to allow a controversial windfarm in Sutherland.

With a property empire comprising 218,364 acres, clothing magnate Mr Povlsen is believed to be the second largest private land owner in Scotland, after the Duke of Buccleuch, who has 240,000 acres.

Mr Povlsen is furious over the Scottish Government giving permission for the windfarm on the Altnaharra estate, owned by 82-year-old Jim Gray, the founder of the Gray & Adams transport company in Fraserburgh.

A petition which was used to back the controversial wind farm was said to have been hijacked by people from Doncaster, Dunfermline and Fraserburgh.

Opposition politicians have demanded that the Scottish Government reconsider its decision to approve the 22-turbine Creag Riabhach development, since local support for the project was one of the main arguments ministers relied on in giving it the go ahead.

Creag Riabhach was approved two months ago by Paul Wheelhouse, the business, innovation and energy minister, despite being partially located on wild land.

Mr Povlsen’s Wildland Ltd has confirmed it is seeking a judicial review of the controversial decision and is lodging its appeal with the Court of Session.

The Creag Riabhach turbines will be visible from several of Mr Povlsen’s properties.

Thomas MacDonell, director of conservation for Wildland Limited, said: “We are concerned about the proliferation of windfarms in the area. We have applied for a judicial review.

“How they got permission for that windfarm, God only knows?

“The turbines are definitely in the wrong place. We think there are contradictions with the Scottish Government (policies) over this.

“There are contradictions to other decisions. We feel it’s an industrialisation of our precious land.”

Each of Creag Riabhach’s turbines would be 260ft high, with maximum generating capacity of 3.3MW. Together they have the potential to power 36,000 homes.

The Scottish government said: “The application for Creag Riabhach received strong support from the local community council in Altnaharra.”

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