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Confidentiality request sidelines wind farm objectors  

Hundreds of opponents of a massive wind farm on Lewis excluded themselves from giving evidence at a public inquiry because they requested confidentiality in their objections, it emerged last night.

Thousands of people lodged protests against the controversial Eisgein development on Lewis. But many did not realise that ticking a confidentiality box means that they cannot make representations to an inquiry.

Their contact details to the energy consents department in Edinburgh cannot legally be passed onto the appeals section, a Scottish Government spokesman confirmed. This means they would not be invited to make representations.

An earlier blunder in failing to notify potential witnesses delayed the preliminary inquiry meeting into the 53-turbine Muaitheabhal wind farm on the privately-owned Eisgein Estate.

The pre-inquiry meeting has been rescheduled for Friday in Stornoway.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said objectors could still ask to lift their confidentiality request. He explained that representers should notify the Scottish Government planning consent department to make the change.

The Scotsman

4 February 2008

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