The notoriously windy Hebridean island of Tiree is set to harness its most abundant natural resource.
Despite Argyll and Bute Council’s planning department being against the plan, councillors have given the go-ahead for a 200ft community-owned wind turbine at Ruaig Sliabh.
The decision was taken at a public hearing, held on the island on Thursday evening, and attended by one-third of Tiree’s community.
The council’s Oban, Lorn and the Isles area committee, chaired by Councillor Duncan McIntyre, unanimously voted to grant planning permission for the turbine,after hearing the arguments of the Tiree Community Development Trust, as well as those opposing the development.
The development trust has said the turbine will make more than £5million in its 20-year life for the community.
But planning officials said it would be a blot on Tiree’s spectacular landscape.
Councillor Donald McIntosh, vice-chairman of the area committee, said: “I am delighted we passed it.
“I have always been a supporter of windfarms.”
trust chairwoman Tish MacKinnon said: “This marks the start of a process that will give island residents the opportunity to shape Tiree’s future through the development of the trust.
“We are a small island community and the revenues from the community-owned turbine will enable us to take forward community projects and initiate new developments for the benefit of all islanders, as well as making Tiree’s own contribution to the greater use of renewable energy in Scotland.”
Ms MacKinnon said that it had taken a long time toget the positive decision and had tested the stamina of those involved over the past year.
But she added: “The outcome was more than enough reward for the trust and Tiree’s community and demonstrated that small communities, united in securing and developing their future, can get their aspirations recognised and get the favourable outcome we have received.”
8 March 2008
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