Economic growth will be jeopardised if plans for a massive wind farm on the Western Isles are rejected, Scottish Chamber of Commerce has claimed.
Chief executive Liz Cameron is to meet Enterprise Minister Jim Mather to voice worries that the Scottish Government is minded to turn down Lewis Wind Power.
She said there had been “over-zealous” interpretation of European designations designed to protect the environment.
The proposed site, Barvas Moor on Lewis, provides habitat for wildlife.
Thousands of objections to the 181-turbine proposal were sent to Scottish ministers, many from local people, but the scheme has been backed by the local authority.
The Scottish Government, which has the final say on whether it goes ahead, is minded to refuse the bid on environmental grounds.
Ms Cameron said: “Scottish businesses must not be penalised through an over-zealous interpretation of the habitats directive.
“There are numerous examples of major developments taking place on designated areas or proposed areas for designation in England – such as port developments in the Humber and Bathside Bay.”
She added: “We remain concerned that by apparently considering the rejection of the Lewis Wind Power development on the grounds of the habitats directive, many other potentially beneficial schemes in Scotland could be jeopardised.”
Lewis Wind Power, which is a joint venture between international engineering project company Amec and British Energy, met government officials on Tuesday to make its case for the plan.
13 February 2008
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