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Crofters' legal vow on wind farm

Crofters have vowed to take legal action in their fight against a 176-turbine wind farm on Lewis.

More than 700 tenants on two estates have signed a petition opposing any land being taken out of crofting tenure for the Lewis Wind Power (LWP) project.

Crofters said they had notified the Scottish Land Court of their stance.

LWP – a joint venture between Amec and British Energy – said in a statement it “understood and respected” the rights of crofting communities.

Crofters on the Barvas and Galson estates have written to the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (Seerad) declaring their intention to oppose the £500m project.

Their neighbours on the Cross Skigersta fishermen’s holdings were backing their fight, said the crofters.

Final decision

Opponents warn of long-term environmental damage while supporters point to economic benefits, including more than 400 jobs during construction.

In February, councillors on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) voted by 18 to eight to support the plan.

The comhairle’s backing was given on condition that five turbines were removed from the 181 LWP project proposed for the site on Barvas Moor.

The final decision on the planning application rests with the Scottish Executive.

Amec said it had “no issue” with all crofters, supporting or opposing, or having their views heard at the Scottish Land Court.

The Scottish Land Court has authority to resolve a range of disputes, including disputes between landlords and tenants, in agriculture and crofting.

The court is based in Edinburgh, but holds hearings throughout Scotland.

BBC News

11 July 2007