A huge island wind farm would cause “irreversible damage” to one of the country’s most important wetland sites, an environmental group has claimed.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) is opposing plans for a 181-turbine development on the Isle of Lewis.
It fears the proposed £500m development by Lewis Wind Power would destroy some of the world’s most extensive and intact areas of blanket bog.
However, LWP said the environmental concerns had already been addressed.
SWT has urged the public to lodge objections with the Scottish Executive before the planning deadline on Monday, 5 February.
The group’s call coincides with World Wetlands Day, held to raise awareness of the global importance of the saturated lowland areas.
Stuart Brooks, SWT’s head of conservation, said: “While the Scottish Wildlife Trust supports the use of renewable energy alternatives, this is the last place the Scottish Executive should be considering an application.
“Peat takes thousands of years to mature and is an effective mechanism for fixing and storing carbon.
“If peat bogs are damaged they can release this stored carbon as carbon dioxide, adding to global warming.”
He added that the wind farm would also have a “significant” effect on certain bird species.
David Hodkinson, director of Lewis Wind Power, said the SWT’s concerns had been addressed in an environmental assessment which accompanied the application.
“We will be looking to arrange a meeting with them so that we can go over the environmental work carried out and seek to reassure them that the concerns they raise will not materialise,” he added.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is also opposed to the project.
Earlier this week it said job figures put forward by Lewis Wind Power were “misleading” and seriously flawed.
Lewis Wind Power said its assessments were correct and challenged the charity to provide evidence of its findings.
The wind farm application will be considered by Western Isles Council’s planning committee next week.
The final decision lies with the Scottish Executive.
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