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Government will decide on turbines plan near Callanish stones

A row over a plan to put up wind turbines within sight of the famous Callanish stones on Lewis will be decided by the Scottish Government after an objection from Historic Scotland.

The agency is opposing the bid to build two masts on the island of Great Bernera, nearly five miles away across the sea.

The planning application, from crofter Norman MacDonald, is for two wind turbines, each on 219ft masts, capable of powering about 1,500 houses, as well as access tracks, a substation, an underground electricity cable network, hard standings and temporary construction storage areas.

Historic Scotland insists the scheme would spoil the “spiritual” landscape and the panoramic views from the Callanish stones, which are popular with tourists and considered by many to be on a par with Stonehenge.

The objection means the application will be decided by the government.

Separate objections have also been lodged over the potential impact on golden eagles and otters. Earlier this week, Western Isles Council gave its backing to the development.

A council report previously highlighted the economic benefits of the project to the region from the jobs which would be created in the construction phases and the extra indirect spending in shops.

Local electrical technicians would be needed for maintenance and annual payments to the community would be invested in improving the local amenities.

Point councillor Donald John Macsween said: “This is a very small development, almost insignificant.

“We all have a very good idea of the environment where this development will be.”

Yesterday, Norman McDonald, of Kirkibost, Bernera, said: “Historic Scotland has no business interfering in what I’m doing. The Callanish stones have seen many changes.

“The lifespan of a turbine is 20-25 years. That’s miniscule when compared to the lifetime of the stones.”