Hundreds of jobs and massive economic benefits could be threatened by a public inquiry into a giant windfarm on Lewis, it was claimed yesterday.
A final decision concerning the proposed 53-turbine scheme at Eisgein may not be made until 2010 after news that the Scottish Executive wants to fully examine conflicts between its close proximity to a National Scenic Area (NSA) and its potential economic benefits.
The executive has refused to confirm things, saying the “matter is still under consideration”.
Developer Nick Oppenheim said he had received notice in a formal letter from the executive and claimed the inquiry would focus solely on the disadvantages of building adjacent to the NSA against the economic benefits.
Eisgein is one of three massive wind developments which would see a chain of the world’s largest land turbines running the length of the island and along a major tourist route.
It has been claimed the former Labour-led executive baulked from giving Eisgein the go-ahead before the May elections in an unsuccessful attempt to retain the party’s islands’ seat.
Both opponents and advocates of the controversial wind plans have been frustrated by the inquiry decision.
Objector Catriona Campbell said a clean decision to reject the scheme should have been made, emphasising that NSAs “create valuable jobs, particularly in tourism”.
Angus Campbell, vice-convener of Western Isles Council, was “quite confident” an inquiry would ultimately approve the project.
30 July 2007
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