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Eisgein wind farm inquiry set to be postponed  

The start of a public inquiry into a controversial giant wind farm on Lewis looks set to be postponed as the Government failed to notify potential witnesses.

Hundreds of objectors were apparently kept in the dark though they are entitled to give evidence at the inquiry. The last date to register to attend the forum was today (Thurs) which has infuriated many who missed the crucial deadline because of the Government blunder.

Now the Scottish Government is set to be forced to cancel the start of the public inquiry into the 53 turbine Muaitheabhal windfarm. Developer Nick Oppenheim plans to erect 53 turbines on the privately-owned Eisgein Estate in South Lochs.

Only landscape and socio-economic issues are likely to be heard at the inquiry as the proposed development’s closeness to a National Scenic Area (NSA) is concerning planners. It will weigh up the advantages of potential jobs and community compensation against impact of the NSA.

A pre-inquiry meeting was due to be held on the 7th February in the Caladh Hotel in Stornoway but no-one told protestors.

Last night (Thurs), there was a growing number of people who did not know about the inquiry. In many cases one member of a household received notification while others did not.

Campaigner John Angus Macdonald said: ” A lot of people are wondering what is happening. Very few people seem to have been sent notification letters. People lodged objections but now they haven’t heard about the inquiry date.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said they were looking into the blunder.

He said: “It is imperative that all third parties are given sufficient notice of a planning inquiry pre-meeting.

“We are currently checking to ensure that everyone who made representations to this application has received notification of the pre-meeting.

“If it transpires that many third parties have not been notified the Scottish Government will postpone the pre-meeting to ensure that all those with a view can be properly represented.”

Hebrides News

31 January 2008

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