A Crofting Commission decision to deny a Lewis township permission to erect wind turbines has been upheld by the Appeals Court in Edinburgh.

The crofters had appealed the original CC decision to the Inner House at The Court of Session, having first appealed to the Scottish Land Court. The court held that the decision was correct as a matter of law and agreed with the decision of the Land Court.

However, the court observed that the needs of crofting communities in remote areas of Scotland have been changing, moving on from livestock grazing and small scale food production, and adopting an array of technologies to manage the land. However, erecting wind turbines, as the law currently stands, and at least without landowner consent, is detrimental to the rights of the landowner which stretch back generations.

Sindi Mules, Litigation Partner at law firm Balfour and Manson which represented the Crofting Commission in the appeal to the Court of Session, stated: “The main question under scrutiny was around the use of land. Under current legislation and crofters’ rights in common grazing, a development such as erecting wind turbines falls within the category of detriment to the landowner .

"It is interesting to note the observation made by the Lord President who delivered the Opinion of the Court that the needs of the crofting communities are not identical to those in the late Victorian era, something that is not reflected in current legislation.”

Underlining the shift to modern technology, due to pandemic restrictions, the court held an entirely virtual hearing enabling remote crofting townships to observe the proceedings in real-time via a video conferencing platform.