A salvage proposal for fresh plans for a giant windfarm on a Lewis moor could be doomed, it emerged yesterday.
Western Isles Council will try again to secure a large-scale energy scheme if the Scottish Government knocks back planning permission for the huge Lewis Wind Power (LWP) project.
Half of a proposed fresh development could be taken over by the community, with the council determined to achieve its aspiration to see a large-scale scheme built on land between Stornoway and Ness.
A contingency “plan B” could mean a partnership deal between one or more community landlords, Lewis Wind Power – which would provide the capital funding and operational expertise – and Western Isles Development Trust.
Western Isles Council vice-convener Angus Campbell said: “We should open immediate discussions with the community landowners, the development trust and the developer to see how a new project, owned in a 50:50 manner by the community and the developer, can be rapidly brought forward.”
However, the plan, which was proposed at an energy conference in Stornoway last week, could fall flat.
The environmental designations that legally cover the moorland and protect endangered wild birds against 181 planned turbines has led the Scottish Government to provisionally reject LWP’s idea to build a giant windfarm across the moor – and the same obstacles would be likely to hit any sizeable scheme at the site.
John Price, of LWP, pointed out that if the current plan was rejected it would set a refusal precedent for others. “I don’t think the designations give much choice. We don’t believe the scheme needs to be reduced or phased,” he said.
His view was echoed by Iain Maciver, factor of the estate owner Stornoway Trust, who said: “It would (still) come into conflict with the designations.
“What we have at the moment is an opportunity at no risk to the community.”
However, he said the trust would always be willing to discuss how a windfarm could be progressed.
24 March 2008
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