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Executive revives plan for Lewis wind farm

The Scottish Executive yesterday received plans for a large-scale wind farm in an area of Lewis which could be subject to Scotland’s first hostile crofting community buy-out.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) wants to build 57 turbines, each nearly 500ft high, at Pairc in South Lochs, which will feature in a test case at the Scottish Land Court next week.

SSE originally wanted to erect 125 towers, but this has now been reduced to 57, although the structures will be taller and more powerful.

Many islanders are opposed to the £200 million, 205-megawatt proposal, which would see a line of towers running parallel with Loch Erisort along the main tourist route to Harris.

They say that, along with two other giant schemes for the island, it would mean a chain of turbines from one end of Lewis to the other, changing the moorland into an industrialised landscape.

Ian Marchant, SSE chief executive, said: “The energy white paper has confirmed renewable energy has a key part to play in reducing carbon emissions and contributing to security of supply by diversifying the electricity mix and reducing the need for energy imports.”

But one villager said: “This is frightening. We would have to live amongst all of these giant turbines. It does not bear thinking about.”

The issue will be tested at a hearing in Edinburgh, starting on Tuesday.

By John Ross

The Scotsman

8 June 2007