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Giant Stornoway windfarm wins council approval  

Credit:  Hebrides News, www.hebrides-news.com 8 March 2012 ~~

Western Isles Council has approved plans for a major £220 million giant 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 and may consider a revised layout or reducing the number of turbines to protect golden eagles and other rare birds.

Local anglers are also concerned over damage to community-owned wild salmon rivers.

There are also objections over aviation matters from the Ministry of Defence, National Air Traffic Services and the operators of Stornoway airport.

The council urges the Scottish Government to come to a decision as soon as possible and to to hold a public inquiry into the development which could delay its construction.

LWP wants to hook the proposed giant energy scheme onto a planned sub-sea cable to export the electricity under the Minch to the mainland. The development would itself create a need to build the submarine link which other renewable energy schemes could use.

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 around 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.

Councillors previously backed the windfarm proposals last year but were required to vote over it again when the developer lodged changes.

The windfarm is a smaller replacement scheme for earlier controversial plans for a £700 million network of 181 huge turbines on neighbouring land. The original proposal was thrown out in 2008 after a mass protest campaign involving thousands of people.

Source:  Hebrides News, www.hebrides-news.com 8 March 2012

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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