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North Harris Trust opposes Eishken wind farm

A Hebridean community landlord wants to stop a neighbouring developer from erecting turbines next to its own windfarm in a national scenic area (NSA) .

On Friday, a public inquiry in Stornoway was told that 27 of the world’s tallest turbines, five quarries, four compounds and about 20 miles of roads would be built on the NSA.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) claims both windfarms will destroy the “special qualities” of the NSA between Lewis and Harris which is “part of Scotland’s heritage.”

However, SNH withdrew its official objection to the tiny NHT scheme at Monan giving the green light to the NHT but it maintains a similar complaint against the massive 53-machine Eishken development.

Duncan Macpherson for NHT told the inquiry that that islanders are considering exploiting its scenic and environmental advantages to make all of Harris a national park.

Mr Macpherson stressed: “We agree with SNH with the Eishken current application” arguing it was excessively large and impacted on the integrity of the whole of the NSA compared to the small locally-owned scheme.

The Eishken development would create eight full time equivalent jobs at the Arnish energy fabrication yard on Lewis though it is argued that 75 men are needed for one year alone helping to kick-start manufacturing at the yard. Eight locals would be hired to operate the windfarm.

Villagers need £ 12 million to build turbines on free sites gifted for a community windfarm and must hand over 30% of profits to a council-led trust.

SNH recommends that developer Nick Oppenheim should be allowed to erect 13 turbines outside the NSA.

Meanwhile, Western Isles vice-convenor Angus Campbell is due to give evidence to the inquiry this week despite an embarrassing gaffe when the council made a submission all about the wrong windfarm.

The blunder, which has angered certain senior councillors, was initially denied by the council. It has now presented the correct information many weeks past the final deadline.

Hebrides News

18 May 2008