Angus Campbell, the vice-convenor of Western Isles Council, refuted accusations that he had spoken in favour of the Eishken wind farm before he had all the information prior to voting for approval.
Opponents believe that his evidence on the stand at a public inquiry into the development is at odds with an official submission he lodged with the inquiry reporter last month.
At the public inquiry on Tuesday, he challenged a line of questioning from local giant windfarm campaign group MWT suggesting that he had already concluded to support the controversial windfarm in advance of the actual council vote on approving planning permission.
Mr Campbell refers to a public meeting he attended in October 2004 in Balallan.
In a submission Mr Campbell indicated: “I spoke in support of the application” at public meetings in Balallan and in Pairc.”
When giving evidence on Tuesday he strongly denied speaking in support of application at the public meetings.
He corrected a verbal summary by inquiry reporter Janet McNair and stressed: “I did not speak at Balallan or at the Pairc open meeting at all.”
He said: “I went to speak to Kinloch and Pairc community councils over the level of community benefit – to maximise the level of community benefit for these communities.”
Mr Campbell said he was amongst a number of councillors who had been totally exonerated by the Standards Commission following a complaint over alleged bias by a wind farm opponent.
Last Wednesday Mr Campbell lodged a new submission document and the reference to his pre-support is omitted. Opponents at the inquiry agreed to accept it – and thus permit Mr Campbell to participate in the inquiry – apparently on the basis that they could ask questions on both documents. However, on Tuesday they were forbidden to refer to the first submission.
Mr Campbell was allowed to give evidence to the inquiry despite effectively being disqualified as his first submission focused on the original planning application. The council said the current proposal is a revised plan and the principles of both schemes are the same.
20 May 2008
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