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Failed wind-farm plan 'cost £5m'

Developers behind proposals for Europe’s biggest wind farm said they spent £5 million preparing the rejected plan.

The Scottish Government said on Monday it had thrown out the £500 million development which would have seen 181 turbines put up on Lewis.

Ministers decided the plan did not comply with European law on peatland wildlife habitats.

But Lewis Wind Power (LWP), a consortium of Amec and British Energy, said it had spent the huge amount of money over the last six years developing the plans for the sensitive site.

The company said it carried out studies to support its view that it was compatible with the environment. A spokesman said:

“We believe we put forward a detailed case showing the benefits of our proposal and the benefits it would bring to Lewis, the Highlands and Islands and to Scotland. We also believe we demonstrated it could have been approved without violating European law.

“The local authority and major business organisations recognised the benefits this proposal would have delivered.

“Sadly all of this has been lost because of the decision which, we believe, represents a huge missed opportunity.”

LWP said it would study the government’s response before deciding its next move.

By John Ross

The Scotsman

23 April 2008