A PETITION used to back a controversial wind farm in the Highlands was hijacked by people who had no connection to the area.

The Scottish Government has been urged to reconsider its decision to approve the 22-turbine development as local support was one of the main arguments in favour of the project.

People from Doncaster, Dunfermline, Fife, and Fraserburgh, signed the petition calling for the Creag Riabhach development near Altnaharra, Sutherland, to be built on its estate.

Loading article content

The estate, owned by 82-year-old SNP supporter Jim Gray, who founded the Gray & Adams transport company in Fraserburgh, has branches in Dunfermline and Doncaster.

According to the petition, 166 supporters were registered at postcodes in Fraserburgh and nearby Peterhead – more than 160 miles away.

Only 49 people came from the local postcode – 11 are thought to live in Altnaharra. A total of 53 people from Doncaster and South Yorkshire signed up in favour of Creag Riabhach, along with 34 from Fife.

It was approved by Business and Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse and is the first wind farm to gain approval in a designated wild land area.

Mr Wheelhouse justified his decision when he said it had “popular support from the local community council and public alike”.

Tim Philpot, a director of Creag Riabhach Wind Farm and an employee of Gray & Adams, said he could not explain the petition figures.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The application for Creag Riabhach received strong local support.”