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Lewis project may blight tourism economy  

Developers of Europe’s largest proposed windfarm on Lewis moor are giving a completely one-sided picture of the economic benefits to the island.

The project’s proposed 181 turbines, together with 140 kilometres of new roads, quarries, substations and pylons, risk destroying Lewis’s international reputation for wild open country. If it goes ahead, tourists are far less likely to visit the Outer Hebrides to a degraded environment.

Tourism is essential to the Outer Hebrides, with around 200,000 visitors to the islands every year. The industry contributes 15% of the region’s economic output and accounts for some 9% of the island’s workforce. A recent study concluded that this development’s impact on the area’s tourism economy could actually end up costing as many as 140 jobs.

What seems like a quick fix to a fragile economy may well end up blighting the tourist industry for generations to come. If the Scottish Government is serious about its own target to increase tourism by 50% before 2015, it will protect Scotland’s reputation for unspoilt landscapes by rejecting this proposal.

Helen McDade, Policy Officer, John Muir Trust, Tower House, Station Road, Pitlochry.

———

How many Lewis islanders know that industrial wind turbines emit a low-frequency noise associated with vibro-acoustic disease, neurologically affecting some people living in close proximity to such structures?

The Lewis Wind Farm is proposed for the western side of Lewis. The sun sets in the west, therefore during the long summer twilights the rotating turbine blades (181 of them) would cause a shadow flicker across Lewis. Are the islanders aware of this phenomenon?

Turbines have been known to blow over in high winds and turbine blades to snap off or fling ice in similar conditions. With wind speeds in the Western Isles known to reach 120mph, these structures could become dangerous. Are the islanders aware of these dangers?

Has a survey been done to see who would still wish to live on Lewis knowing the above?

How many tourists would wish to visit a once beautiful unspoilt Lewis, covered in turbines?

What “community benefits” could possibly replace the islanders current quality of life? As a tourist to the Western Isles in 2005, I was unaware of any “poverty”, often cited as justification for the massive project.

Norma Ittmann, 7 Raleigh Road, Cowies Hill, South Africa.

The Herald

30 January 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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