The first minister is to be asked to step into the row over plans to build one of Europe’s largest wind farms.
It is understood that the Scottish Government is “minded” to refuse the 181 turbine scheme on Lewis.
Western Isles Council wants Alex Salmond to intervene because it believes the project will bring jobs and other economic and social benefits.
SNP MSP Alex Neil said the government was not saying no to wind farms on Lewis in principle.
He explained: “You are talking about 181 wind turbines in Lewis. In the rest of Scotland at the moment there are 454 – that puts it in perspective in this one island.
“Now the government is not saying there shouldn’t be wind farms in Lewis, it is saying it is minded not to approve this particular project for various environmental reasons, and again here it’s a balancing act.”
Angus Campbell, the vice convenor of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), is due to meet Enterprise Minister Jim Mather later.
He said the wind farm was crucial to the social and economic future of the islands.
Mr Campbell added: “You cannot have something for nothing. There is going to be environmental damage, we accept that.
“But the extent of it is that it is very much overstated and we have great concerns over the planning process.
“The amount of weight that is given to things like the RSPB against people is hugely detrimental to us and we don’t think the whole process has been carried out properly.”
More than 5,000 letters of objection to the proposals were received by the Scottish Government.
Supporters of the turbines have pointed to potential economic benefits, claiming more than 400 jobs would be created during construction.
The final decision on the planning application rests with the Scottish Government.
28 January 2008
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