The land taken up by a 53 turbine wind farm on the Eishken Estate in South Lewis would only be about 28 hectares of a National Scenic Area (NSA) covering 109,600 hectares, the second day of the public local inquiry in Stornoway was told yesterday (Wednesday).
The application by Beinn Mhor Power for the £120 million scheme, which was approved by the Western Isles Council, has been made by Nick Oppenheim, the owner of the Eishken Esate. He has given six of the turbines to a local community trust which would receive a minimum of £1 million pounds annually. The development would also provide 100 jobs for the 25 year life span of the windfarm.
Giving evidence on behalf of the applicant, Phillip Roden, a chartered landscape architect, told the Inquiry that the South Lewis, Harris and North Uist NSA was the second largest in Scotland and was identified by its diversity and character.
He said the land take within the NSA would be about 28 hectares against a total land area of 109,600 ha.
He said that the majority of the Landscape Character Types studies (LCTs) within the NSA would not have a significant effect upon their character, qualities or appearance and that any significant effects would not be widespread across the NSA.
Mr Roden said that the Regeneration Plan would seek to conserve and enhance existing landscape fabric and encourage the natural regeneration of additional landscape elements that are rare within the estate and the wider Western Isles, such as upland woodland.
The proposed wind farm would only theoretically be visible from just over 11% of the NSA within 30km of a turbine.
The inquiry continues.
15 May 2008
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