Developers hoping to build Europe’s largest windfarm made a last-ditch attempt to win government backing yesterday.
Ministers have indicated they are minded to reject the £500million proposal for a 181-turbine development on Lewis because of European nature designations.
Lewis Wind Power – a partnership between Amec and British Energy – has until Friday to convince the government its scheme should get the go-ahead.
Yesterday, the company met Scottish Government officials in Glasgow to discuss environmental concerns.
Legal designations were put in place to protect peatlands following a recommendation from Western Isles Council and the government in 2000 but the local authority now believes the benefits of the windfarm scheme far outweigh the environmental concerns.
In an area suffering from depopulation, it would provide more than 400 jobs during construction, with most of the turbines being made at the local Arnish fabrication yard.
The council is also worried about the loss of £6million in annual community benefits from windfarm profits.
But environmental groups, such as the RSPB, warn the scheme would threaten the habitat of wild birds and damage the environmentally-sensitive peatland.
Lewis Wind Power (LWP) said the meeting with government officials was to discuss its request for more information regarding aspects of the development. Last night the Scottish Chamber of Commerce called on Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Minister Jim Mather to fulfil the SNP manifesto commitment not to put Scotland at a competitive disadvantage from “overly prescriptive” European directives.
13 February 2008
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