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Comhairle backs giant Stornoway windfarm  

Only two individuals objected to the present planning bid compared to a mass campaign, involving thousands of people, which led to earlier plans for a £700 million network of of 181 huge turbines on neighbouring land being thrown out in 2008.

Credit:  Hebrides Neews, www.hebrides-news.com 4 October 2011 ~~

Western Isles Council is backing plans for a major £220 million wind farm on Lewis.

The developers, Lewis Wind Power (LWP) – a partnership between Amec and French government-owned EDF Energy – want to erect up to 42 giant turbines adjacent to a busy tourist route outside Stornoway.

The Scottish Government will make the final decision over planning permission but needs much more vital detail to fill the large information gap caused by an “flawed” environmental assessment by the developer.

LWP is in talks with conservation bodies and government energy planners over how many turbines would be axed to protect golden eagles and other rare birds.

Scottish Natural Heritage says a giant windfarm is possible in the area but reckons some turbines will have to go. While it says it is is confident talks can identify a minimal number to remove, it points out that if agreement is not reached then taking away thirteen turbines within a 500 metre buffer zone would safeguard the eagles.

SNH stresses much more environmental inofrmation is required before a final view can be made. It slammed LWP for its “major flaw” of not judging the windfarm under the stricter habitat regulations which govern the eagle and bird flight paths by the adjacent legally protected Barvas moor Special Protection Area.

But, yesterday (tues) planning councillors approved the scheme with conditions including further work on avoiding pollution to protect wild salmon on the Creed River fisheries. The full council is expected to add its weight behind the windfarm next week and will urge the Scottish Government not to hold a public inquiry into the development.

LWP wants to hook the proposed giant energy scheme onto the planned sub-sea cable to export the electricity to the mainland.

After electricity starts generating up to £1.6 million annually would be paid locally via a community fund, lease and compensation payments.

The community also has an option to buy up to eight turbines at an estimated cost of £30 million. It is said aroubnd 87 local jobs could be created while the local Arnish manufacturing yard is in with a chance to land a multi-million contract to build the turbine towers.

Only two individuals objected to the present planning bid compared to a mass campaign, involving thousands of people, which led to earlier plans for a £700 million network of of 181 huge turbines on neighbouring land being thrown out in 2008.

Source:  Hebrides Neews, www.hebrides-news.com 4 October 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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