The fight to save the controversial Western Isles wind farm project is to be taken to Europe.
Officials and politicians in Brussels will be told this week that it is their environmental directives which are preventing the area from helping reach the renewable energy targets that Europe seeks.
Western Isles Council is set to outline the case for windpower in the Western Isles as the European Union launches its Sustainable Energy Week.
Council vice-convener Angus Campbell, a key speaker at the event in Brussels, will highlight the need for renewable energy schemes such as the Lewis Wind Power proposal for 181 turbines in the north and west of the island to be given the go-ahead if global warming targets are to be met.
On Friday, developers Lewis Wind Power received a letter from the Scottish Government indicating the project was unlikely to win ministerial approval. Ministers are concerned at the impact the huge development would have on the 164,000-acre Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area which was classified under EU directives. The area qualified by supporting bird populations of European importance.
Mr Campbell said: “In Brussels I will argue that European designations were never supposed to stop all development in rural and sparsely populated island communities, although that is precisely what seems to be happening.”
Representatives of the council yesterday met Jim Mather, the Energy Minister, to discuss the economic situation in the Western Isles.
Mr Campbell said: “The minister listened to what we had to say about the socio-economic challenges that the islands face. It was a constructive meeting and paves the way for continued dialogue.”
By John Ross
29 January 2008
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