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31 July 2014
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Windfarm approved

The windfarm, proposed for North Lewis, has tonight won approval from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Councillors voted by 18 votes to 8 to approve the project, which will now to go to the Scottish Executive.

More than 3,000 objections were raised against the revised proposal, which was debated tonight. Prime objectors were the RSPB, who not only voiced misgivings over environmental issues but also over the numbers of jobs that the project may bring to the island. Local residents in Ness and the West Side feel that their heritage, enclosed in the moor, would be destroyed. I have made my own position clear in previous posts.

Even if the Executive approves the North Lewis windfarm, which is likely to be after the May elections for the Scottish Parliament, there are a number of considerable obstacles in its way before construction can commence.

A public inquiry has recently been launched into the upgrading of the powerline between Beauly, west of Inverness, and Denny near Stirling. This line will carry the electricity generated in Lewis (as well as other renewables projects in the Northern Isles) to the National Grid. If the inquiry finds against this upgrade, then windfarms in the Northern and Western Isles are in jeopardy.

Another problem is the so-called interconnector, the sub-sea link between Lewis and the mainland. Discussions are on-going whether this should go to Ullapool, Hunterston in Ayrshire or northern England.

Thirdly, a 6-turbine project along the Pentland Road here in Lewis is subject to a public inquiry, and this may yet place further obstacles in the way of the North Lewis windfarm, which passes very close to it.

It was stated that the Lewis Windfarm would only be pursued if 50% or more of the island's residents wanted it. No formal ballot has ever been conducted, so we'll never really know. I can't escape the impression that many people in the island will feel that they've had this thrust down their throats. Moran taing, a'Chomhairle.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 23:06


Good posting once again Arnish. Lewis has a small population. Have the council thought of the impact of something like 7% of the island's population coming to work on Glumag plus the same for the construction of the windfarms? Can the local health service cope? We know the anwer to that. Most of the labour will be imported so will pay no community charge. The pubs will no doubt prosper and the police will need to build more cells. The council have shown themselves to be a self seeking bunch - no surprise there then - who do not represent their voters. Well done to the eight councillors who saw through this. North Yorkshire Count Council this week rejected plans out of hand for a wind farm - they have all the same depopulation and economic issues but the moors will continue to be enjoyed by millions who bring in revenue all year round. While there are many obstacles before this 'farm' becomes reality, the Wilsons and Darlings of the world will no doubt be able to smooth things through with a few judicious phone calls. The difficult bit has been done- forcing a decision down the islanders' throats against their wills.

calumannabel from amecmy****

Didn't I read a comment somewhere that a councillor replying to one of your posts implied all the councillors were in favour? Or was he spinning? The problem with all debates in this contentious area is that the various protagonists do seem to come up with half truths and sometimes deliberate lies.

hrossey from Mainland Orkney

hrossey: it is true that the councillors not on the Environmental Services committee were not entitled to vote at that meeting, but they did indicate that they would vote against the windfarm application at the full council meeting, and they did, bless 'em. Cue another several years of letters in the Gazette, community bustups and more complete sh*te from the West Highland Free Press...

Charabanc from Lewis

I'm not from Lewis so probably ill -informed and not qualified to comment. My gut feeling , however, is that the decision by the council is wrong.The islands can be self supporting and energy rich. The proposal makes the islands industrial and unattractive.Sustainable energy could be virtually free on the island without "selling your souls".Please dont allow this to happen.I hope to visit again without industrialisation of the island.

David Hall from Stirling

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