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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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The controversy surrounding the three windfarms on Lewis took on a new slant on Wednesday. Apart from having some 300 turbines on the island (181 in North Lewis, 53 in Eishken and 65 in Pairc], standing 450 to 500 feet tall, there is also the associated infrastructure. I am talking powerlines, substations and the line to the mainland, referred to as the interconnector.

Having generated all that power, it obviously has to go to the National Grid, which is envisaged to be via the interconnector (a 60 mile long subsea cable) to Little Loch Broom, south of Ullapool. From there, a line will be built to Beauly, west of Inverness. The existing powerline from Beauly to Denny (near Stirling) is due to be upgraded.

Restricting this post to the island side of this infrastructure, the residents of Gravir (10 miles east of Balallan) were unpleasantly surprised to learn that their tiny township had been selected as the site for the interconnector from Lewis to the mainland. Gravir sits at the head of Loch Odhairn, surrounded by moorland, linked by road to Lemreway in the south, Marvig in the northeast and Balallan (on the main A859 Stornoway to Tarbert road) in the west. I happen to know the area very well indeed.

In order to house the interconnector, powerlines will be marching across the moors from Stornoway to Grimshader, Crossbost / Leurbost and Keose, then under Loch Erisort to Garyvard and over the moors to Gravir. A huge substation will be built near the village, the size of 20 houses. Pylons will also feed in from the Eishken windfarm, as well as from the Pairc turbines on the adjacent estate. Basically, Glen Odhairn stands to be industrialised, where at present it is a wilderness, backing on to the Eishken estate.

This map (opens in separate window) shows my personal interpretation of the information at hand. I do NOT make any claims to accuracy.

Local residents have expressed outrage at the prospect of having huge pylons and infrastructure right outside their front doors. Concerns have also been aired about the possible harmful effects of high-voltage powerlines; some research suggests that the electromagnetic fields surrounding these transmission lines is a contributary factor in the development of childhood leukaemia.

It was stressed by developers SSE that this is only a voluntary exercise, with more formal sessions to follow later. A planning application is yet to be submitted, and construction is a long way off. A public exhibition is due to be held at Stornoway, Kershader and Ullapool by SSE in mid-April.

I have so far refrained from passing comment on the Pairc windfarm, bearing in mind the efforts to buy out the estate, but I sometimes wonder if those in favour of these schemes have properly visualised the impact a windfarm with associated infrastructure has.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 18:19


I do not think anyone has thought all of this electricity production through and I expect there will be lots more *surprizes*

island threads from lewis

I wonder if we'll still get power cuts when we have all this electricity everywhere. Saturday night was just like the old days with the oil lamps out - and it's not long since folks in Ness had to have sandwiches for their Christmas dinner when the power went off.

Annie B from the usual

An accurate description of the route (but no map) is given on New infrastructure would run from the current substation at Marybank (on the Harris road) opposite the Arnish road entrance. The existing lines along the main road from Marybank to Keose road end / Laxay would be used and run into Keose village. Another circuit would run from the Creed / Marybank substation across to near the Arnish yard and south towards Leurbost breaking into two lines with one cutting through the middle of Leurbost and under the loch with another by Crossbost and under the water – both meet up on the other side and continue to Keose where it merges with the line from Stornoway. At Keose, just to the east of the factory a single cable goes under Loch Erisort to where the road corners at Garyvard and then it follows the road into Gravir. Your mapping gives a very good idea though the Gravir to Garyvard leg would be right beside the road and instead of branching off the main road into Leurbost it heads straight to Marybank

Jack from Lewis

Just as well you are making no claims about accuracy. The Pairc windfarm hasn't even gone to the Council yet, but apparently YOU know the number of turbines. BTW, LWP is 176 turbines and all cables underground and Eishken hasn't applied for permission for any cabling yet. Apart from everything, you are spot on. <sarcasm>Good to see objective journalism rather than scaremongering </sarcasm>

Marag from Lewis

Has anyone got a clue as to whether those wind turbines have a health risk attached to them,other than the potential for the propeller flying of and decapitating half the population of lewis.Are we going to be hit by another cancer causing phenomina two years down the line,so that while England gets to cook with there microwaves from our turbines and we just get microwaved .Maybe if we demand free power to put up with the turbines ,could that soften us a bit,I know its scant concellation,but better than the booby prize, a frazzled brain.Well ,you will still get a frazzled brain,but you won,t feel so bad about it,you know,yust like smokin"Three years from now the locals will be running around with hair like that golliwog on the roberstsons jam jars,you,ll be able to tell where we come from simply by our hair style,(burn"t) !!!!!

Thevitalspark from Point.

Thanks for highlighting this Arnish. I must confess I was in favour of the Barvas Moor windfarm, giving little thougth to the link from there to the interconnector but this does indeed put a new slant on it. With all the peatland leading to Gravir surely the cable can be put underground. You've certainly got me thinking!

Norseman from Central Scotland

Marag, Please tar yourself with your own brush. The LWP windfarm has its cabling above ground, as is shown in the planning application. And knowing my position on the windfarms, you should not be surprised that I will take every opportunity at exposing what these monstrosities are about: money spinning for multinational companies, whilst fobbing off the natives with beads and mirrors. Regarding numbers of turbines, I go on info supplied to a previous post on the Pairc windfarm. If the Pairc Trust doesn't know, then who does?

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

I like the sound of the beads and mirrors. Please can I have a turbine on top of the house? Does it come with a Brian Wilson T shirt?

calumannabel from Ness

For anyone who talks about the wind turbines that are to be a part of the landscape in lewis,have a good look at the land designated for the turbines as it now stands,then go out to arnish.There size also allows you to see them very well coming up from Point to Stornoway as you drive past Parkend,they stick out like the preverbial sore thumb.I try to keep my comments on a light hearted footing most of the time,but looking at just two turbines just now lowers the tone of the landscape,just imagine any of the sites allocated with many more wind turbines on the landscape,then decide for yourself if its something you would put up with if it where in your back garden,if its not don,t ask others to put up with it,and am not just talking about the visual effect of the turbines,do we really know that there isn,t a hidden price by way of health problems or more sinister effects that those turbines will generate,.Am personally concerned that the questions that need to be asked "aren,t"those already asked can,t be verified,everything were told about the benefits of the windfarms is hearsay,the blotting of our landscape isn,t.Is it yet another case of selling ourselves down the river,our fishing is decided by brussels,our oil by England,and now our land ,again to the English.When you shout at someone to get there attention and they don,t hear you,you shout louder and now is that time.My hope is that those who think that our Island "unspoiled" is worth more than the turbines and whatever they bring with them is to big a price to pay.And if you think they are,think back to all those things over the years we where told where good for us,and now,well there killing you slowly,.

Thevitalspark from Point.

This developement, will destroy the whole future of the islands and the people, for what? so that a few greedy people can make money from the futures of the many!!

Donald from South Lochs

I think the real scary thing is that destruction of this island will be at the hands of local people who run the Stornoway TRUST and an off island inheritor of the Eishken estate. These people are seeing pound signs and that is all, stuff the little people. It's easy to say this land will be be given again to the english, and having read the history of the islands when i decided to live here i can totally understand and sympathise with this thought BUT the locals here offered this land to AMEC, the english government didn't order it and amec never asked for it. Did you never see the signs after the council said yes to these things after everyone had made their opinions clear on this subject? They said' the council sold us out' and they wern't wrong were they. The council is full of locals, not english, they could have said no and they didn't, the stornoway trust is full of locals, not english, they could have never offered this in the first place, but they did and have refused to listen to public opinion. This is not the work of the English this time, but your very own people.

tanith from point

The interconnector will kill all the life in Loch odhairn, take away the jobs the fish farm brings and distroy the Pairc area. This project will distroy the island!

Donald John from Gravir

SSE have noe presented to the masses at Kershader and are repeating their presentation at Lacsaidh tomorrow. If you have an interest in this then do go to the presentations. The have some very good visuals of what the project will look like from several viewpoints on the island and a map representing how many windmills you'll see from where. I'm yet to be convinced that the community benifits will compensate for the dramatic change to the visual environment. It seems that this will forever change the look and feel of Lewis as an Island.

Mark from Gravir

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