Scottish Government scuppers Lewis wind farm plan
Island's wetlands spared the turbines
The Scottish Government has turned down an application to build a 181-turbine wind farm on the Isle of Lewis, the BBC reports.
The decision confirms a report by the BBC's Gaelic news service Radio nan Gaidheal back in January, which predicted a red light for the £500m project, proposed by Lewis Wind Power (LWP).
Although the plan was approved in February 2007 by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) members, who voted 18 to eight in favour, and attracted local business support, 11,000 objections nudged the Scottish Government to decide the scheme "did not comply with European law protecting sensitive environments".
Campaigners had warned of "irreversible damage" to one of the country's "most important wetland sites". Scottish ministers agreed, and declared the farm "would have a serious impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area, which is designated under the European Commission (EC) Birds Directive and protected under the EC Habitats Directive".
Energy Minister Jim Mather confirmed: "The Lewis Wind Farm would have significant adverse impacts on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area, which is designated due to its high value for rare and endangered birds. This decision does not mean that there cannot be onshore wind farms in the Western Isles.
"I strongly believe the vast renewables potential needs to be exploited to ensure that the opportunities and benefits of new development can be shared across the country in an equitable fashion."
LWP, which insisted the development would create more than 400 jobs, described itself as "bitterly disappointed" with the knock-back. It said in a statement: "The local authority and all of Scotland's major business organisations fully recognised the huge benefits that this proposal would have delivered.
"The economic benefits included the creation of around 400 local jobs, 680 jobs across Scotland, during the construction process, as well as providing much needed investment to the Arnish Yard* to make it a global competitor for other projects."
It added: "The wind farm would have contributed 650MW of renewable energy to help the fight against climate change and paved the way for an interconnector to the mainland to encourage more investment in other renewable technologies.
"Sadly all of this has been lost because of the government decision which, we believe, represents a huge missed opportunity."
LWP concluded it would be "considering the Government’s response in detail before deciding on our next move". ®
*In Stornoway, and described as "one of the employers expected to benefit if the scheme had gone ahead".
There would have been no quicker way to clear Lewis than build this wind farm. Higland clearences all over again. Remember we are an island it's not like we can drive down the road and get away from the bloody things (especially considering the other two proposals at Pairc and Eishken). Life here is hard but we put up with it because we love our cluture our island and it's people. Detsroy our island and there is not much point in us living here.
As for saving co2 this was perhaps one of the most un green renewable projects ever. Designed to export electricity to S England a significant proportion of the generated elec would have been llost in transmission. Add to that loss of Co2 through drying and draining of peat and co2 emitted during construction you begin to ask yourself which idiot thought of this in the first place.
Out of interest I heard recently that the water table is so deep in some places foundations would have had to have been between 14ft-20ft deep. So calculate the 400m circle loss of co2 using those figures and there would be a net loss of co2 if the project had gone ahead. As Jim Mather said ' some renewable projects are put forward for the wrong places' I would add to that 'and for the wrong reasons'. It doesn't mean we can't have them but some places are better than others see RSPB map of places to avoid and put them somewhere else.
Jon - Screw you! What do you really know about my island and it's people, government or distribution of resources?
Do you really think your council tax covers all the expense of providing the public services you enjoy? Well it doesn't, you sponging whiner, they are largely paid for by other peoples efforts - so get a grip on your offensive self.
Many of the people of Lewis, like me, travel the world to work and those on the island work hard for little money due to the type of work available. Unemployment is very low, many people have two jobs or keep a croft for additional income - do you have any real idea how much work there is in rearing sheep?
We are enthusiastic supporters of renewable energy schemes that are environmentally and economically beneficial, we are way ahead of the curve in recycling organic waste to produce power in the form of stored hydrogen (see here - http://www.fuelcellsworks.com/Supppage5464.html), wave power (see here - http://www.natwindpower.co.uk/siadar/index.asp) and have a number of community wind installations in place and in planning.
This particular scheme was just plain wrong. We were lied to about the potential benefits and the risks were underplayed. The headline figure for the output of the system (650MW) is wildly optimistic, LWP themselves reckoned a capacity factor of 0.35 (so an output of 200MW'ish) but even that is optimistic.
The Road Equivalent Tariff is about to be introduced, which will make the islands more accessible and create far more local economic stimulation than this scheme would have. Contrariwise this huge scheme may even have dissuaded people from coming to the island.
>Scots and Gaelic are two different languages completely.
As I said, I stand corrected.
>I'm sure it makes you feel important to pick out local terms on internet comments pages...idiot.
My main point was how the sponging islanders whine about any kind of economic activity on the islands whilst happily sponging on everyone elses efforts. That is, to say, they're a bunch of sponging whiners.