Posted: Friday, 14 April 2006
The Galson situation is not a hostile buyout. It is well known that last year the community progressed a deal with the landowners. The Galson buyout will be a private purchase and as such will Not require any approval from the Scottish Executive. The Pairc buyout is hostile as landlord Barry Lomas is challenging the buyout. A fair amount of villagers are also against the Pairc buyout. Don't forget, these current landlords are not rich millionaires and have never curtailed development on these estates. Thier families purchased the land when islanders rejected it when offered to them free. Neither business plan is dependent upon any giant windfarms. It has always been a requirement of Community Land/Scottish Land Fund applications that land buyouts should be sustainable without such risky developments. Communities must come up with their own locally controlled projects. In any case the Pairc buyout has nothing to do with the Eishken windfarm. In fact Scottish and Southern Energy intend to submit a planning application for its own giant windfarm on Pairc - it was this plan which triggered the buyout proposals about three years ago now. The Eishken windfarm could be bigger than the revised plans as the owner took out far more turbines - about double I think, than he need have done. Watch out for an additional planning application for an extension going in for the same area in a couple of years time. The Pairc buyout will be the focus of a legal test case. The landlord has set up separate legal companies to control the SSE windfarm profits after any hostile buyout. Such a company, using interposed leases, is assigned a long-term rental on the land from the landlord/estate. It effectively becomes the landlord. The idea is that the windfarm developer will sub-lease the turbine sites from this interposed landlord. So even if the actual land is taken away from the owner the payments from the windfarm developer is due to the interposed leasee. The Scottish Executive is using Pairc to test the legalities of this although it could take ages.
John Macleod from Glasgow
Thanks for the support Arnish, I would like to emphsise that the buyout is about more than just the windfarms. It is about bringing economic stability to the estate and allowing the residents to decide what legacy is left for future generations. We still have a £42,000 shortfall to make up but we are looking at a number of fundraising initiatives. Visit www.galsontrust.com to find out more about the work of the trust.
JS from Ness
I would just like to make a small comment on what bringing wind farms to the south lochs would distrupt alot of things. My grandparents live in the cottage on the first on the left - mr and Mrs Phillips and they feel strongly opposed to the wind farms, they moved up there for peace and quite and a nice peacful life which they have. However, windfarms will bring lots of traffic (when building) and it probably won't even open up new job opportunities on the island as they will more than likely ship people over. It will produce pollution when building, mess, noise and most importantly a sight sore on the south lochs.
Jennifer Ainsworth from England-Bolton