THE editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, a newspaper critical of a renewable energy levy, is ‘to profit’ from a new hydro scheme at his estate in the Highlands.
Paul Dacre, whose paper has criticised a renewable energy levy on household bills, owns the 17,000-acre Langwell Estate, north of Ullapool in Wester Ross.
The renewables project being build on the estate is expect to earn over £15 million over the next 20 years, according to The Herald.
It claims most of the money will come from the levy on all consumers’ energy bills, but guaranteed by the government to renewable energy producers.
Planning permission for the 1.2MW hydro scheme, including increasing the size of the existing dam on Loch a’Crois, was granted by the Highland Council almost two years ago.
Work began last July and is due to be completed in the autumn.
It has been reported that the applicant was DHG Hydro Ltd, whose HQ is in London. It bills itself as “one of the largest privately owned hydro-electric developers” in the UK.
But it states the £4.25m hydro scheme is owned by Canaird River Company Ltd, based at Langwell Lodge, the big house on the estate.
According to company annual reports, there are four directors.
These include James McKellar, DHG’s Financial Director and Nick Curtis DHG’s Commercial Director, as well as Paul Dacre and Alexander Peter Dacre, understood to be his son, who are the Langwell Estate Family Partnership.
The annual reports indicate DHG owns 60 per cent and the Dacres 40 per cent, with the parties entitled to share revenues accordingly.
It has been claimed payments could amount to the scheme generating £15,137,280 over 20 years.
There has been no comment from the estate, its representatives and DHG Hydro Ltd.
John Finnie Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said. “I am all in favour of hydro development.
“But it seems while some press barons attack public support for green energy in their day job, when they become Highland landowners they are happy to profit from it.”