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Contentious £200m Lewis windfarm takes step forward

Plans to build a controversial £200million windfarm on the outskirts of Stornoway have moved forward.

The developer – a partnership between Amec and French government-owned EDF Energy – wants to erect up to 50 giant turbines adjacent to a busy tourist route.

Now an environmental survey has been lodged with the Scottish Government, which has responsibility for deciding if the windfarm goes ahead due to the large scale of the scheme.

The proposal sparked fierce criticism after it emerged the community-owned Stornoway Trust signed a deal potentially committing crofters’ grazings to the huge development for decades.

Stornoway Trust factor Iain MacIver said: “I am delighted with the recent progress the application has made.

“This application will be respectful and mindful of the impact on the local environment and habitats and this has been foremost in our thoughts as we have submitted the application.

“Our development partners have listened and learned from their previous application and we are committed to engaging and consulting with the local community during this project. I believe the appointment of a community co-ordinator will be integral to this process as we aim to form an ongoing partnership with the local community.”

The environmental report covers all aspects of how the proposed windfarm would be assessed from an environmental perspective during the design, construction and operational phases.

It addresses surveys to include noise, visual impact, archaeology, ecology, tourism and hydrology. Bird studies started on the site last spring.

The current proposal follows the Scottish Government’s refusal to approve a controversial plan for a £700million chain of 181 huge turbines up the length of Lewis. Depending on the number of turbines which receive planning permission, up to £1.5million is being offered annually in community benefit after electricity starts generating in three or four years.