An embarrassing blunder may stop the council vice convenor from giving evidence at the Eisgein public inquiry it has emerged.
Evidence from Angus Campbell – a core witness for Western Isles Council – risks being ruled as inadmissible because it is all about the wrong wind farm development.
Western Isles Council planned to put forward vice convenor Angus Campbell as a witness. The other two are its economic advisor Calum Iain Maciver and former planning chairman Angus Nicolson.
However, the vital submission written on behalf of Angus Campbell talks about the wrong wind farm. When quizzed by Hebrides News prior to the inquiry, the council rubbished such an event
However, today inquiry reporter Janet McNair pointed out that a paper “from” vice-convenor Angus Campbell “referred exclusively” to BMP’s original scheme to erect 133 turbines.
She said: “Councillor Campbell does not appear to acknowledge the existence of the (53 turbine) scheme.”
BMP ditched the 133 turbine scheme and submitted fresh plans for a new application for 53 machines in 2006. Only the latter 53-turbine development is allowed to be discussed at the inquiry.
Hhebrides news is aware that the submission had passed through the highest levels in the local authority but amazingly no-one had noticed the chaotic blunder.
Mr Campbell explained that the original 133 proposal was downsized.
He said: “It is all part of the process and many of the same principles apply. The 53 turbine offers less socio-economic benefits but is still of national importance and will bring an interconnector.”
The council, like all bodies at the inquiry, had been clearly pre-warned not to include any issues which were not relevant – in particular the 133 turbine scheme. Despite strong instructions from the reporter the authority has done the very opposite.
The inquiry is being staged to debate the issues over erecting 53 large turbines in and near a National Scenic Area (NSA). It could be a test case as it is the first such development proposed for a NSA.
While the government will consider all other factors before making up its mind over final planning permission it wants to use the inquiry to examine if the national socio-economic benefits over-rule wrecking the national importance of the landscape.
14 May 2008
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