Ironically, the latest renewable scheme would be erected on land the developers previously rejected around 2004. They have obtained the wind energy rights over the crofting moorland and forestry belt. The current proposal follows the aftermath of the Scottish Government’s refusal to controversially build a £700 million chain of 181 huge turbines up the length of Lewis.
Plans to build a giant windfarm on the outskirts of Stornoway took a major step forward today after two significant objectors withdrew their opposition.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the RSPB dropped their objections to the Lewis Windfarm scheme paving the way for a much easier ride to get planning permission.
The number of turbines will be cut from 42 to 36 after both organisations previously said they could harm golden eagles and red-throated divers in the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area..It has now withdrawn its holding objection to the proposals after the number of turbines were cut from 42 to 36.
Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland said: “Although we are disappointed that risks to golden eagles and red-throated divers have not been reduced further, when compared with previous proposals for large scale wind power schemes in north Lewis, the Stornoway wind farm as now proposed represents a welcome improvement, and we acknowledge the efforts made by Lewis Wind Power in this regard.
“The challenge now is to ensure that the construction and operational impacts are minimised, and that the development is thoroughly monitored, so that any eagle displacement or collision is discovered, and urgent remedial action taken. We look forward to working with the developer and our partners in the statutory sector in order to help achieve this.”
David Maclennan, SNH area manager in the Outer Hebrides, confirmed SNH has no outstanding concerns about the development.
He added: “We have worked closely with Lewis Wind Power and Stornoway Trust, our aim being to help them find a solution that meets their requirements whilst safeguarding the eagles and divers in the Lewis Peatlands SPA. Now that the most sensitive turbines have been removed from the proposal, we’re confident the risks to the SPA have been addressed. We very much welcome the close working arrangement we have had with Lewis Wind Power throughout this process. They have taken on board our concerns and have been very keen from the outset to do what they could to address them.”
He added: “Scotland has huge potential in renewable energy and it should be possible to achieve targets whilst making sure the impacts on nature and landscape are sustainable. The challenge is to make sure the right developments happen in the right places.”
The developers – a partnership between Amec and French government-owned EDF Energy – want to erect the giant turbines adjacent to a busy tourist route.
Ironically, the latest renewable scheme would be erected on land the developers previously rejected around 2004. They have obtained the wind energy rights over the crofting moorland and forestry belt.
The current proposal follows the aftermath of the Scottish Government’s refusal to controversially build a £700 million chain of 181 huge turbines up the length of Lewis.
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