A campaign group has demanded an apology from the Scottish Government for “rejoicing” in a court decision to back a huge windfarm south of Inverness.
The Friends of the Great Glen environmental group accused ministers of supporting the “destruction of a vast area of wild land” by supporting the Stronelairg project.
The Court of Session recently upheld an appeal by ministers and developer SSE in favour of allowing the 67 turbine development at the southern end of Loch Ness.
Conservation charity the John Muir Trust (JMT) revealed last week it would not appeal to the Supreme Court because of the cost of further legal action.
Jim Treasurer, from Friends of the Great Glen, praised for their “heroic” fight against the windfarm.
He added: “We will be writing to Holyrood and the minister for an apology for the destruction of a vast area of wild land, a unique Highland ecosystem and one of the world’s finest and highly acclaimed landscapes for commercial exploitation.
“How do they explain this to the Scottish people who all own this landscape?
“The ironic thing is that public money was used to break the back of the Highlands.
“We feel the integrity of the Scottish highlands and outstanding natural beauty are being destroyed. The Highlands are beginning to resemble a patchwork quilt of spectacular landscape encircled and swamped by massive industrial development.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Court of Session’s ruling that the decision to consent the Stronelairg wind farm was lawful means the project – which will create jobs and generate important economic benefits for the Highlands and Islands economy – is able to go ahead.
“The wind farm is designed to produce electricity equivalent to the needs of more than 100,000 homes – a vital boost at a time when Scotland, the UK and Europe all need to ensure a secure energy supply for the future. It will also produce a further boost to Scotland’s work in leading international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Climate change is a threat to both our society and our natural environment.
She added that renewable energy had to be balanced with environmental protection and said the government would work with groups such as the JMT.