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Wildlife agency backs new Lewis wind farm plans  

Credit:  David Ross, Highland Correspondent, www.heraldscotland.com 6 September 2011 ~~

It battled to prevent the building of Europe’s largest wind farm on Lewis, but now Scottish Natural Heritage is advising construction of a substantial wind farm on the outskirts of Stornoway should be possible.

However, SNH says the plans may have to be scaled down to prevent golden eagles crashing into the turbines.

The body that advises the Scottish Government on wildlife, habitats and landscape was responding to the consultation on a proposed 42-turbine development near the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area (SPA).

It would be the biggest wind farm development on Lewis.

In 2008 the Scottish Government blocked the building of 181 turbines on Lewis because of the impact on the environment. That development was opposed by SNH.

However, the agency does not have the same concerns about the proposal from developers Lewis Windpower – a partnership between Amec and French Government-owned EDF Energy – which claims the £200 million project could power more than 103,000 homes and save 290,000 tonnes of CO2

SNH has requested the developers investigate the impact of the wind farm on two protected bird species – golden eagles and red-throated divers.

The agency believes turbines may have to be deleted from the plans in order to reduce the risk of birds colliding with the structures.

Johanne Ferguson, SNH operations manager for the Outer Hebrides, said that should these issues be addressed the organisation would have no outstanding concerns.

She added: “We are confident the issues we have raised in our response can be addressed and look forward to working with the developer on the detail of these.”

A spokeswoman for SSE Renewables, said. “We have submitted a planning application for a variation to the consented tip height at the 14 turbine Calliachar wind farm to Perth and Kinross Council.

The proposal is to increase the tip height from 100m to 109.8m in order to increase the efficiency of the wind farm. Interested parties have been able to make their views known to Perth and Kinross Council.”

Meanwhile, a wild land charity is hoping to block plans to increase the height of 14 turbines near Aberfeldy by 10%.

The John Muir Trust (JMT) has submitted an objection to Perth and Kinross Council to the plans by Scottish & Southern Electricity (SSE).

SSE already has consent to build Calliachar, a 14-turbine development, but it hopes to increase the height of the turbines to 110 metres.

Source:  David Ross, Highland Correspondent, www.heraldscotland.com 6 September 2011

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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