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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Windfarms - update

Following the airing of the Coast programme, on December 7th, a flurry of letters winged its way to the pages of the Stornoway Gazette. The consensus was that the computer generated graphics failed to show properly the actual size of the turbine towers - 460 feet. Another correspondent suggested that the islanders would be driven insane by the noise of the machines.
In April 2005, I attended an informative meeting at Stornoway Town Hall, in which an expert on industrial noise stated that the noise from a windturbine is negligible. Methinks the cumulative effect of dozens of turbines is not so negligible.

On a political note, I picked up a copy of Fios, the North Lewis community weekly newspaper. In it, politicians are quoted from 2004 and 2005, saying that the windfarm will not be built if the local population does not want it. The MSP for the Western Isles, the former and present MP, all saying the same thing. Percentages of the population opposed to the windfarm run between 50 and 90%. Unfortunately, as I reported in my previous entry, the MSP has now buckled under, and says that a number of turbines are necessary to justify the interconnector. It would appear that he would justify the windfarm, even if the local population doesn't want it.

Why do the Western Isles always crop up as locations for things that nobody else in this country wants? The Lingerabay Quarry was going to disembowel the hill of Roineabhal on the east side of Harris, leaving a gaping hole that could have been seen from space. It took 15 years of hard graft to thwart this proposal.
In 1988, the nuclear industry was looking for a dumping ground for its waste, and came up with the islands of Fuday and Sandray (either side of Barra).
And now these two monstrous windfarms. The Eishken windfarm, 53 turbines, more than in any windfarm in the UK. The population of Kinloch, which overlooks Eishken, are 10 to 1 opposed, yet the local council is only interested in the peanuts that the Beinn Mhor Power group is prepared to throw its way.
The cynical promises of a revolution in jobs, which in fact may only be during the construction phase. IF the turbines are fabricated at Arnish.
A correspondent in California mentioned to me that the Mojave Desert there sports hundreds of turbines. The Mojave Desert is empty of people. You can drive past the turbines. That windfarm has turned into a killing ground for eagles, though.

The people of Lewis will not be able to escape the turbines, wherever they go in the island.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 13:17


Here we go again, that is the lies that spew from ‘experts’ selling their dream of making themselves loads of money – sorry, building a windfarm, for us all to benefit from! Scotland is quite some years behind Wales (and many parts of England) in the development of windfarms (or is it rape of the countryside), so I only say ‘here we go again’ as I have been through all this in England and Wales. I lived (unfortunately) for some time on the ‘pretend’ Island of Anglesey. My neighbour, being a Lord, not caring that much about others and not wishing to be a proper farmer anymore, erected 14 grant aided wind turbines outside my front door, the nearest being 650yds away. I can assure you THERE IS NOISE and it is damned annoying. So, let’s ask any one of these so-called experts where they live and you can be your last breath it’s nowhere near a windfarm. So I left Anglesey, my house being devalued to almost 50% of it’s market price prior to their being a windfarm (OK it’s only money) and will never go back. From my house I could see many of the 50 wind turbines on N Anglesey. The Wales Tourist Board did considerable research into the impact of these three windfarms and they concluded (and have written up their findings) that the windfarms HAVE had a measurable and dramatic effect on tourist numbers to that part of N Anglesey. Yet, I still read ‘expert’ after ‘expert’ claiming that windfarms do not effect tourism, some ‘experts’ actually claiming their a windfarm will/may become an attraction – READ THE REPORTS YOU DUMMIES, there is conclusive evidence that you are WRONG. And then I read – again – about jobs. The three Anglesey windfarms (20MW, 50 turbines (approx)) (sorry to keep borrowing ‘thewhitesettlers brackets) employ NO ONE local, actually, NO ONE in Wales, they are serviced by contractors from England. And then there is the BIG question - do they actually make us any greener? That is a difficult one and worthy of a rant all on it’s own - but one thing you can be very sure of – those EXPERTS and organisations promoting these wind turbines are going to make a LOT OF DOSH, and that’s what it’s all about. Apologise if this rant is irrelevant to your situation on Lewis, it is, after all, just my bad experience in Wales. It may well be that the brains behind your scheme are not complete capitalist b**t**ds but really do care about your ecology, wellbeing and desires. I hope so.

Tony from Coll

Couldn't agree more about the Outer Hebrides being considered nothing more than a dumping ground by those in power in England. Few, if any, of the decision makers will have seen the beauty of the Hebrides as they almost certainly jet off to the USA or The Malidives for their holidays whilst muttering how awful those carbon emissions are. Contrast the Lewis situation with the newly approved offshore wind farm off the coast of Essex and Kent. These turbines will be at least 7 miles offshore so will be far less visible from land but the most interesting thing is that the local council in Kent has refused planning consent for a single onshore substation because of its enviromental impact! How then can the Council of the Western Isles not understand the enormous environmental impact of the turbines spread across the moors? Councils in England might not give two hoots about the Western Isles but at least they look after their own patch unlike the Comhairle who seem to be blind to the detrimental impact of such a huge industrial construction on virgin moorland. These turbines are exactly the same as the Tower Blocks of the 1960's - it took thirty years to realise what a big mistake they were and I would bet my life's savings that in thirty years time all these turbines will be ripped down amid comments that they should never have been built in the first place.

Les Ellingham from Stafford

Les, I think you're right, but they won't be ripped down because it will be too expensive, so they will just be left there to go rusty, enhancing our wonderful landscape still further!

BoB from Lewis

Wind farms? You mean they're growing the blessed stuff now. You'ld think we had enough of it already. But, seriously folks, aren't we missing some of the points. News item on the big neighbours local radio (4) this afternoon was talking about the biggest wind farm to date in Britain, over 300 of them and only 7 miles from another 100+ of them. Where? I hear you ask. In the Thames Estuary that's where. Sometimes we need to think global.

Hyper-Borean from A strangely calm Northern Isle

It's really simple. Stakeholders in the Lewis Wind Project WILL make money from siting these monsters onshore. They will get less money by siting offshore. My Semtex supplies have been bolstered so when the inevitable happens and they get the go ahead - BOOM!

Dragsworthy from Suffolk

Dismantling the turbines in 2025 will do no good anyway. The construction phase will have destroyed the Barvas Moor peatlands. Hundreds of sq km will be drained by the construction roads, and that dry peat will inevitably burn. How much carbon will that put back into the atmosphere?

Bob from a cold place

Those politicians that support the windfarms, be aware, elections are looming and the people of these islands can and possibly will oust those in favour of these monstrosities.

thewhitesettler from in hiding

the turbines are only in the isles because they are not wanted on the mainland. they are noisy, unappealing when en mass and will rust fairly soon. bits will fall off in severe gales, and they will interefere with tv and radio reception etc. they also need the ugly pylons and a double width road to service them. So much of the appeal of our wild untouched areas, our affinity with nature, our landscape that we are famous for, our wildlife, our plants, the peace and quiet - its all going to disappear for ever. we have a choice - or we should.

scallowawife from shetland

Briefly saw some those horrendous windmills near Hannover recently. What can I say? that I was downright thankful for the fog that quickly enveloped them. # I do not wish you to have perpetual soupy fog once those turbines go up, and yet ...

mjc from NM,USA

windmills near Hannover recently Quite. An Holland is full of old broken down mechanical windmills.

Escaped white settler from Rothesay

They say that money talks but it can obviously hope to try todrown the noise of widturbines and a condemned local heritage and environment

neil young from the frozen wastes of England

I'm in two minds. I think the peat bog argument's a serious one but I don't see the problem with wind farms generally. There's loads around Kintyre and I quite like the look of them. They are also planning a huge one outside Glasgow so arguments about dumping stuff on islands don't really stand up in this case (although it's definitely been the case with nuclear waste). They might not provide that many jobs in maintenance but they could put money into the local economy by selling electricity to the national grid. Look at Gigha - one more turbine and they'll be self-sufficient for electricity!

craigontoast from Lochgilphead

Another misconception craigontoast? Gigha, in my opinion, is NOT self-sufficient (or even nearly). If, like Eigg, they were disconnected from the National Grid one could make this claim but, I believe (and please correct me if wrong), Gigha people still have to BUY electricity at normal prices from a normal electricity supplier. Their windfarm does not sell electricity direct to the inhabitants. You may consider this a moot point but it is the very nature of the subtlety of this misconception that fuels the selling and acceptance of community windfarms. Eigg is one of the only truly self sufficient islands in that it has no mainland electricity connection and it’s spinning reserve and alternative supplies (green and un-green) are also on their island – and when they don’t work they have no electricity or when there are perturbations they accept voltage variations. That is self-sufficiency.

Tony from Coll

The windfarm is NOT for the islanders' benefit, we won't get an amp of free electricity. If anything, we're liable to continue to get our power down that crabby line through Skye. I am very familiar with the situation in Eigg, which (like so many islands in former Inverness-shire) has been sidelined for decades. They've taken matters in their own hands for a decade now, and good for them.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

Well done BBC, spent 10 minutes writing a response for you to tell me I can't post if! And of course theBBC isnt biased! Windfactories are an obscenity. I am having major arguments with friends/family dawn saff over the impact - the majority say they are in favour of renewables (as we all know often twisted in results to mean wind ignoring other forms of renewables) but they won't have them, even in potentially suitable areas, in their back yard. Isn't it interesting that the bulk of the BBC's HYS would welcome turbines, knowing darn well their areas aren't suitable?? And how on earth do you cope with someone who loves our landscape but needs an M&S, Tesco's and Sainsbury's on the doorstep?? My suggestion she relocated to Gruinard didn't register!!! The BBC's already cut this posting twice: do it again and you can stuff your license fee. The BBC, despite coast, uses wind turbines imagery consistently and that's mind engineering. Who's paying them? There is another way of thinking. I've stayed on Uist a Tuath and Leodhais and it's a hard life but I will never ever forget what being there and the wonderful people taught me. If the horrors of global warming include blackouts and storm damage from gales, who better to teach the rest of the smug how to survive with nature, not fight against it?

Roberta from England and Argyll

Tony, of course it's all about dosh. Everything is all about dosh, or society is ALL about dosh. Change the record mate, or tell us something we all don't know. In fact, I'll let you all into a wee secret. I used to live next to Drax. Some of you may know Drax is the biggest coal power station in Western Europe. It's huge, 3GW in size, bigger than two of our biggest nuclear plants. Windmills are tiny in comparison - like toys. You know what; Drax was too expensive to run. Why? British coal might be clean (relative) but it's expensive. So, when the Tories privatized the energy markets in the UK and American companies bought all the shares they then decided to import Petcoke to burn in Drax. Some people on here might do well to appreciate that it is not UK companies running UK power stations. We have no say in our own destiny, but that's Capitalism for you, as Tony points out. I digress, Petcoke is a by product of the petroleum industry and very nasty indeed, but it's free and it burns. So the new American owners of Drax shipped it from the US of A to Yorkshire, and burned it in Drax. Petcoke has been associated with heavy metal fall out, cancer, dioxins, etc etc etc. The people of Selby complained but the corporations are all powerful. Now, let me re-enforce a point here - in a privatized industry where profit is the sole factor it was cheaper and therefore more advantageous to ship petcoke, despite its health risks and against local opinion half way round the world. Cheaper than it was to mine British coal in pits less than 5 miles away. So, you're all wondering where this is leading, well I'll tell you. Wake up in the morning and brush a 1cm layer of petcoke ash off your car, you window sills, your bushes, hell, off your worktops and furniture because it seeps into homes. That is the reality of where most of our electricity comes from today, and that reality is affecting the health of people living next to these plants. Now, forgive me but when I read some of the utter hype on here I just have to laugh. Noise? Eagle deaths? Tourism? Spoilt peat bog? I'm sorry, tell it to the people who live next to chemical plants, nuclear plants or coal plants. Tell them how unlucky you are. I'm sure they'd be only to happy to swap wind farm noise for dioxin fallout, or a few eagle deaths for a cancer risk! But of course, what do the lives of people in Selby matter, when it's your own back yard under threat. There is nothing perfect, and anyone who says there is is a liar. If we opt for marine renewables dolphins will get minced. Fish will be killed. Marine habitats will be altered. Pylons will have to be built. They are far from perfect, just like windmills, but they are better than the other options, better than cancer risks and dioxin pollution. A little perspective is an advantage some times I think.

SkyeMartyn from Dunvegan

yes I saw Coast on 11th dec. Regarding the comment that the computer generated images failed to show the actual size of the turbines, fear not my friend, in fact i think Coast gave the cause some good pr and felt that the presenter was sympathetic towards the issue. On a lighter note it would bring much relief in giving dogs living on lewis somewhere to pee!

zimmy from mainland

I keep hearing all this talk of windpower being the 'answer' to our problems. Don't these people realise how inefficient they are and how much of our 'resources' have been used in the making of them? With all the rivers we have, and the rainfall we have, why are we not installing modern turbines along all the major rivers? At least, unlike the wind, water flows all the time. There is also talk of wave power but what devistating effect will that have on the eco system in the sea? I reckon members from all the parliaments should be made to spend at least a week living non stop in the middle of a windfarm to see if it changes their outlook - I doubt it, at the moment they don't seem to listen to the people who elected them so they'll probably use the same deaf ears when living there!

Spud from inverurie

At very best 19% efficient at worst 0%. What do you use as electricity for the 242 days these things produce no useable power at all. What do I do with all the rotten stuff in my freezer. Another good idea from a crackpot political government subscribed and validated by crackpot "professors" with not one practical bone in their combined body's. The tide is there 4 times every day, we know when it is, how big it is and it never ever lets us down. But harnessing it is a tricky and costly business. Thats why politicions go for the quick fix, the quick win and we lose.

crofterbill from vatersay

Sorry Skyemartin but I don’t believe many people equate windfarms with money. I read the majority of windfarm proponents believe windmills are all about saving the planet and reducing CO2 emissions. Of course this sales ploy of windfarms reducing CO2 emssions is just another windfarm fallacy – why? Because of the necessity for increased spinning reserves cause by grid instabilities and supply uncertainties. But it’s nice to see someone else worried about the Drax’s of this world. But, whilst I agree wholeheartedly about the horrors of Drax, just because Selby is undergoing siege from Dioxins and other filth this is no excuse to stuff windfarms all over the few places still left relatively clean. IF, and it’s a definite IF, the likes of Drax were to shut as a result of another windfarm my view would probably change BUT in the 16- 17 years of commercial windfarms NOT ONE Drax, Eggborough, Didcot.. etc.. have been closed – such is the success of windfarms ! …and CO2 emissions are still rising.

Tony from Coll

Interesting series of comments. Martyn, the powerstation at Selby is already there. I sympathise with the predicament of those living in its proximity. However, the quality of life in the islands stands to be marred by one turbine every quarter mile, looming 460 feet in the air (does Drax stand 460 ft tall?) Don't think you should belittle the arguments mooted against the windfarm - don't forget either that 90% of people in Lewis are opposed to this scheme.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

The first two Turbines are up in Lewis,(with the 3rd at the bottom of the North Sea), and are only a third of the size of LWP's proposed turbines....People can get an idea of what LWP, Beinn Mhor Power, and the local council are trying to impose on the unwilling population...

Windy Isle Man from Windy Isle

i would rather have windfarms than coal power stations

jen from Nottinghamshire

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