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SNH slam “untrue” accusations from former planning chief  

SNH insist that it is “untrue“ to claim that it is blocking a Lewis community from using windfarm data from Lewis Windpower (LWP).

It follows a row where the former planning chief of Western Isles Council attacked Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and alleged it has created a major setback to a village windfarm.

In response, an outraged David Maclennan, SNH’s head official in the Western Isles alleged that Mr Nicolson’s claims against it are “utter fiction.”

Angus Nicolson, who ironically faced Mr Maclennan and the SNH team at the Eishken public inquiry this week, claims that SNH objected to the Tolsta community using data researched by Lewis Windpower for its now failed proposal for an adjacent giant development.

He ruffles feathers on his internet blog by alleging that SNH rejected the LWP study as “unacceptable” and demanded brand new research instead.

LWP had completed a study on bird flight-lines as part of its own proposal to build turbines on the Barvas moor. Its application was recently refused.

The giant windfarm developer handed over its valuable data on bird flight movements to the tiny Tolsta community company to help it on its way to build a turbine on the moor.

Tolsta Community Windfarm Ltd plans to use the profits to regenerate the crofting district. The pre-prepared study will save the community a small fortune and a great amount of time.

David Macleann of SNH said the claim “is utter fiction. It is simply not true.” He insisted the allegations were a load of nonsense.

He stressed: “We are perfectly happy for the community to use LWP’s data. We are working with Tolsta to help them through the planning process.”

He said that as the LWP study did not have any details on Tolsta’s specific site so some extra work on the ground would be required.

He said this was “standard – the same planning process like anyone else.”

He said that claims that SNH wrote in draconian or threatening terms to the Tolsta windfarm body were totally wrong.

He insisted it was false of Mr Nicolson to say SNH warned Tolsta that they “may face huge fines and possible criminal prosecution; and they (SNH) helpfully provide details of the potential jail time they could get for maliciously trying to develop the economy.”

Mr Maclennan stressed: “We haven’t contacted Tolsta along the lines suggest.”

He strongly refuted Mr Nicolson’s stance that SNH has a “policy to to totally sterilise the moorland of North Lewis from any development, irrespective of the community view.”

Mr Maclenan pointed out the body had lifted its objection to the Pentland Road windfarm which proposes six large turbines on the same designated moorland as the Amec scheme.

He added that “development can take place. Development that does not affect the integrity of the site can proceed.

Mr Maclennan remarked: “We are disappointed with Mr Nicolson’s comments.”

Hebrides News

20 May 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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