The Global View

Lewis wind farm plan finally gets binned

turbine3.jpgThe UK has a slew of famous Lewises. The most famous is probably Inspector Morse’s hangdog assistant. The second the questionable Bonfire loving Sussex town. Third maybe that lass off Pop Idol. But somewhere in the list of illustrious Lewises, there’s the Scots town.

A town that almost boosted its Lewis rankings by having a whacking great wind farm on it. Almost – for the wind farm was nixed by Scots MPs this week. The 181 turbine, 650 MW plan was apparently binned due to incompatibility with EU law, and to protect the local endangered birds that live in the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area.

Lewis Wind Power, the group that wanted to put up the turbines, had this to say about the knockback:

“Lewis Wind Power is bitterly disappointed by the Scottish Government’s decision to reject our proposal for a wind farm on Lewis. Over the 6 years of this project, we have conducted extensive environmental and economic studies and designed the development around these findings. As a result, we believe we had put forward a detailed case showing the benefits of our proposal and the benefits it would bring to Lewis, the Highlands & Islands region and to Scotland. We also believe that during our discussions with the Government, we demonstrated that this proposal could have been approved without violating European law.

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. The proposed community ownership of up to 15% of the wind farm would also have provided sustained income to the local community to invest in further sustainable economic activity.

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.

We will be considering the Government’s response in detail before deciding on our next move.”

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