The letter from Alex Macdonald and Angus Campbell (February 11) , respectively convener and vice-convener of Western Isles Council, reiterates how removed from reality these gentlemen are with regard to opinion among their constituents to the Lewis wind farm proposal.
For years, we in Lewis have witnessed with disgust the unedifying and unsavoury spectacle of certain individuals pursuing the aims of private developers hell-bent on the destruction of our natural environment in the hope of a completely unsubstantiated monetary gain. An independent report commissioned by Western Isles Council in 2005 cast serious doubt on the financial benefits and job creation prospects the Amec/British Energy scheme would provide for Lewis. It did accept, however, that the developers would make a killing, mostly from public subsidy levied on electricity consumers. Needless to say, the findings of the report were ignored by the wise men in the council.
Since the proposal for North Lewis first entered the public domain in 2004, at no point has it had public support, another conveniently ignored fact of which its most ardent supporters are all too well aware. There have been 28 indicators of public opinion, all of which have shown substantial opposition to the wind-farm scheme (some, indeed, as high as 90% against). An MSP and an MP have been toppled largely because of their support for it. The sound of the word “democratic” on the lips of certain people is risible to many ears in Lewis.
For the record, 9859 representations have been received by the Scottish Government opposing the Lewis Wind Power scheme. A paltry 77 representations have been received in favour. Moreover, 1930 people wrote to the then Scottish Executive to protest against Western Isles Council’s decision to recommend approval for the Lewis Wind Power and Eisgein Wind Farms, and declared that they had no confidence in the council.
In conclusion, I agree with Messrs Macdonald and Campbell that the decision on these wind farms is best left to islanders. If this were the case, there is not a scintilla of doubt about what the decision would be.
Colin N Maclean, Isle of Lewis.
The Scottish Government recently sent a letter to Amec telling it it was “minded to refuse” its application for the Lewis wind farm. This letter was copied to the Western Isles Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) and from thence into the hands of the media, so it is now in the public domain. It states: “It is worth noting in particular that CnES expressed its support for the proposal on socio-economic grounds, as did some 73 of the members of the public who made representations; and that SNH, Sepa, Historic Scotland, Scottish Water, the Western Isles Fisheries Trust and Salmon Fisheries Board, National Air Traffic Services and Highlands and Islands Airports all maintained their objections to the proposal for a range of reasons. The remaining public representations (9859) were opposed to the proposal, also for a range of reasons.”
We see from this that the Lewis wind farm has practically no support except for the CnES councillors who have been promoting it so heavily for the past four years.
These Western Isles councillors have cost, and are still costing, the taxpayers of the Western Isles and Scotland a huge amount of money promoting a scheme that should never have got off the starting blocks in the first place.
Catriona Campbell, Isle of Lewis.
12 February 2008
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