Two Western Isles councillors attempt to persuade us once again of the economic and climatic benefits of industrial-scale wind farms (January 12) and also that the people in the Western Isles had a fair say before the council approved the last iteration in the planning process – there is at least one more to go. The fantasy of a democratic process is far from borne out by the latest Scottish Executive figures, which show 4692 objections and 12 in favour of the Lewis wind power scheme.
To get an idea of the environmental impact of the proposed 140-metre turbine LWP wind farm, it is worth having a look at the computer-generated image from the recent BBC Coast programme (bbc.co.uk/coast after selecting Outer Hebrides).
Further south, the proposed Muaitheabhal scheme (sponsored by Eishkin estate landlord through Beinn Mhor Power with a London address) is no less contentious; the latest planning iteration also saw the total number of turbines reduced to placate RSPB concerns but an extra 12 plonked on the shores of Loch Seaforth directly opposite the Harris village of Marraig.
The headlong dash, to get the contracts in place and the turbines up before the special grants run out, starts with Amec (LWP sponsors with a Hexham address) getting a whiff of rich pickings for themselves and their shareholders. The men in sharp suits and a slick Powerpoint presentation soon neutralise naive politicians (from Westminster down to local council level) with images of short-term goodies. This is a vital step before trampling over local communities and environmentally protected areas. It seems that Amec now has them writing letters to the papers, Alasdair Morrison sychronised embarrassingly (January 6) with an Amec manager moaning about the RSPB.
The RSPB is only doing its job, as arguably is Amec when maximising shareholder profit. Are Alasdair and other elected politicians doing theirs? The evidence from Scottish Executive figures and affected local communities indicates that they are not. There is time (until January 29) to object to Amec’s latest 181-turbine proposal: the Scottish Executive, Energy Consents Unit, 5 Cadogan Street, Glasgow, G2 6AT, or energyconsents@scotland. gsi.gov.uk.
Iain Mackenzie, 24 Fair-a-Far Cottages, Edinburgh.
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