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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Windfarm and democracy

Reading comments to previous posts on this subject, as well as other media coverage, I am beginning to feel that a cynical attitude of "après moi le déluge" is at large amongst our councillors, here in the Western Isles. Nineteen of our democratically elected representatives have expressed in interest in a severance payment if they decline to stand for re-election at the forthcoming Council elections in May. So, why be fussed about voting in a windfarm - you won't be standing at any rate, so there's no come-back.

I do want to exempt from this broadside those councillors from the West Side who voted against the windfarm at the committee stage last week.

I am not being nasty for the sake of it. At a meeting in Ness two weeks ago, the representative of Lewis Windpower was asked when he was going to go away. The reception afforded to LWP at Ness was apparently on the cool side of lukewarm. I wonder how loud people have to shout "WE DON'T WANT IT" before anyone takes notice.

The amount which will be paid as rent for the lease of the land for the purpose of the windfarms is stated as £5.75 million per annum, for the whole of the Western Isles (quote Fios, Ness Community Newspaper). I think that's an insult. If councillors from districts not directly affected by the windfarm think they're going to hit the jackpot for their area by approving a windfarm in North Lewis, they'll be sorely disappointed.

Why? Well, for a start, there is the proposed Glumag Harbour development for landing bulk cargoes like oil, gas, coal, roadsalt. Estimated cost: £23 million. That eats handsomely into the windfarm profits.

That not withstanding, I think I'm not going to like the early morning news bulletin on Radio Scotland this Friday.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 18:08


I shall be asking anyone who is putting themselves up for election in my ward ( it is not exclusively mine ) if they are for or against the windfarm thingy, and hope that others do the same, and people should get out and use their vote, because this time EVERY VOTE WILL COUNT. Those that don't listen to the people will pay the price. ( I don't know what the price will be, but hopefully not being elected, will be the best for the people )

Tws from The Croft

Perhaps voting en bloc for something when knowingly stepping down after the vote is an abuse of process. Worth worrying the Ombudsman? Or an action for breach of duty against the political party concerned?

calumannabel from amec my ****

No Councillors voted against the wind farm proposal last week, it was unanimously accepted. I have put my name down for a severance payment because it provide free life insurance cover for my family for six months, and by the simple expedient of submitting nomination papers I will lose the payment. It's what's called 'keeping you options open'. My ward will be affect by the transportation of turbines and by the general economic impact on the islands, but it might provide my children with a future on the island, rather than having to export them. Look at and tell me that the West Side community isn't dying on it's feet. More than that, come to the Comhairle tomorrow and hear the debate and get informed about drives the leaders of the community, rather than continuing ill-informed sniping from the sidelines. Remember, no community has a veto over what is best for the Western Isles as a whole, but that doesn't mean we ignore the opposition. Weigh it up and then take a view. That is democracy, unless you know better. I'm happy to engage you in debate there and then and explain my/our reasoning.

Cllr Angus Nicolson from Stornoway

I know of at least three councillors who have listened to those they represent and voted against the windfarm development - one of them was even on tv saying so!

JS from Lewis

I was under the impression that not all councillors voted (or were entitled to vote?) at the Environmental Services committee meeting of which Angus speaks...if this is so, it makes the opening sentence in his post perhaps a little misleading.

Charabanc from Lewis

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