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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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North Lewis Windfarm

The planning application for the North Lewis Windfarm has been refused by Scottish ministers, on the grounds that it is in breach of European directives on wildlife habitat.

Developers LWP are bitterly disappointed as the project would have created "hundreds of jobs" in Lewis and in Scotland generally.

The Energy Minister has affirmed his commitment to renewable energy projects in the Western Isles, restating his belief that the area has a vast potential in that field.

I have never hidden my negative view of the North Lewis Windfarm, because it's simply too big, in all respects. I am NOT opposed to windpower as such, and hope that smaller projects (such as the ones proposed for Tolsta, Point, Ballantrushal, Galson and Horshader) will make a valuable contribution to the local economy as well as ecology. I also believe that now is the time to actively pursue a policy towards marine-based projects (like the tidal generator being developed at Shader, Barvas, as well as the Pelamis wave-power generator).
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 11:22


From first glance it would seem that marine based projects would be the way to go, but what impact do they have on the marine ecology? It would really be shooting ourselves in the foot, if to generate energy, we ruin fishing. Wave power generators would seem to have less impact than tidal generators, but I don't really know.

CVBruce from CA, USA

Hear, hear.

Hyper-Borean from Speakers' corner

Totally agree with your stated direction Arnish ... Will fully-support any smaller project which benefits local people ... But I must admit that I almost did the Happy Soapmakers Dance around my workshop when I heard the rejection item on the news today ... The announcer said the proposed windfarm would've been 'near Stornoway' on Radio 2, which just about says all that needs to be said about how much people know about the geography of the island ... :-)

soaplady from relaxing in soap towers ...

I'd like to comment from the world's most heavy carbon footprint- Dubai- but from Ness- thank the lord that sense has provailed- I shall return in a few years to live now....

Tom Gray from Dubai

Glad to see that common sence has prevailed

windswept from mann from IOM

Good news. Does this mean that those gigantic pylons will no longer be needed on the mainland?

Jill from EK

Oh they'll find a new reason for them Jill...but its very good news on the refusal. Now lets steam ahead with all the small locally based projects that will benefit the islands and make them less dependent on the National Grid.

Flying Cat from sceptics Rool OK

Great news for Lewis. Jill, they'll just redirect those pylons to go along with the wind farm they're building on your back doorstep - are you able to see the Eaglesham moor site from your place? Female staff was quite appalled when she drove through Eaglesham at the weekend.

Mia from purrrondering at the pc

I wonder why our minister for tourism hasnt put a positive spin on this news?

Angus from Oban

Who IS our minister for tourism?

Flying Cat from far from Upturned Boaty Place

Mia, yes I can see the windfarm from certain angles, it's not far away from us. The turbines seem to be at a standstill quite often...

Jill from EK

The minister for tourism is the same as the minister for energy :-D)

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

I presume you ask the question because the minister for tourism seems almost invisible compared to the minister for enterprise and energy?

Angus from Oban

The night before last there was a super TV program on the Hebrides - full of intelligently presented local interest such as the Tom Morris golf course on N. Uist - and a computer vision of what the now squashed windfarm would have looked like.ö Wow, it was BIG! Dear friends on the isands, beef up the political clout for the types of project that you would like before some developer comes along. If your MP(s) know what you want, they just might help to realise such projects. I have spoken, ugh!

Barney from Swithiod spring energy

Arnish is set to close down on the end of may as a result of this decision. More grim times ahead for the island as everyone that works there will be paid off. The 400 jobs that would've been created from this over a 10year period won't be happening and i know a few local boys from Arnish that will be leaving the island as a result of no work. Not only does this not do any favours for the islands economy, but the population drops too, and unemployment rises. It's a crying shame but Lewis continues to spiral downwards.

Losty from Isle of Lewis

Mia, my earlier comment seems to have vanished. Yes, we can see the turbines from some places here. They are very often motionless...

Jill from EK

Losty, I don;t think I'm wrong in saying that Arnish (the yard) has been in trouble for a lot of years, and this is just the last straw for it, not the cause of its downfall ... as with any business, if it cannot produce anything that's wanted, useful, or needed, then yes, jobs will be lost ... If nobody bought my soap any longer, my response would not be to leave the island, but probably to start a business as a chippie or a builder, or any of the plethora of occupations that the island needs ... desperately needs ... I'm sure if the 'local boys from Arnish' decided to do something more positive than leaving the island, they would find enterprise money easily available to them to do so ...This was a project that nobody wanted or needed, which was motivated by the wrong, selfish things, which was destructive to the island habitat, and which had been poorly thought out, in the scramble for grant money. I am surrounded by newly-created small businesses, some Craft, some in fishing, some in tourism and the building and managing of new Hotels (yes - in Breasclete), others in plumbing and electrics ... Upon what do you base the assumption that 'Lewis continues to spiral downwards' ...??

soaplady from sympathetic but firm

It's beein' so cheerful as keeps 'im goin'. People with get-up-and-go have had a tendency to get up and go, so anyone with the former who stays is a good thing! Wherever they're from.

Flying Cat from ochone ochone

Yes, Jill, they looked fairly static to female staff too. And the number of dump trucks seem to indicate that they are putting in lots more???? The windfarm over by Shotts seems to be completed and most of them seem to work most of the time - but at least thats on a brown site not on pristine peat bog.

Mia from purrondering at the PC

I agree completely with the soaplady, lostly I get fed up with people saying there is no work when people are in need of lots of services, it seems to me people are either too lazy, too stupid or don't really want to be here and use 'no jobs' instead of being honest and saying I want to live else where,

island threads from ness

Lets face it the wind is going to blow for a very long time in the Eilean Siar. The waves have also loads of energy that could be harnesed. Dont you think that there is a lack of "joint up writing here" a bit like this blog , where we all have something to say...some of it has value and some of it needs recyled. I needs a think tank with a corporate cunning plan . What about a barage across Broadbay a Neptune and hold back the water between tides and make these turbines wind and turn on the lights in London. Well the haddies have gone. We have huge resources on the Western Isles so lets have some joint up thinking and not let rabbit escape

Fir Chlis from Moorland Peat Cutting

Everything that Losty said is, classically, untrue. The population has remained static for 4 years and if anything has slightly risen - and that's from the local councils own figures. Based on the outcomes of numerous other UK windfarms, only a small fraction of those 400 alleged jobs would have been created. And due to the low unemployment rate in the Western Isles, most of these would have gone to incoming temporary labour (making the accommodation situation worse in Stornoway). The pro-windfarm propaganda and self-interest alliance would be more plausible if they could back up their rhetoric with facts. They can't. Oh, and by the way, how come no other part of the UK has residents wailing "We're doomed unless a huge windfarm is immediately built here"?...

Dave from Stornoway

I continue to be intrigued by this prospect of "400 jobs lost". What jobs? How long for? How well paid? Has anybody (the Comhairle for example) ever taken the trouble to answer these questions? When the record of windfarms in other parts of the world is analysed, there appears to be a very small number of highly-skilled jobs lasting a very short time building and erecting the turbines and then next to no jobs at all in maintaining them. And how many jobs will be lost when the tourist industry nosedives? I know its fashionable to sneer at the tourist industry, but just how many people work in it - B&B owners, hotel workers, barmen (and maids), restaurant staff, ferry crew etc etc. Has the Comhairle any data on how many full-time, long-term employees could lose their jobs if the tourist industry is wrecked. 400 jobs lost? Twaddle!

Malkie from Glasgow

Malkie, well said, but there have already been far more than 400 jobs created. Count up the consultants, journalists etc etc without taking into the count the un-paid workers who are not so keen to see Scotland turned into the renewable energy capital of Europe.

Fiona from -

God almighty, the best thing that could happen to any island, region, country would be to become the renewable energy captial of Europe. But naturally not at any price. Tidal barrages - maybe: harness tidal streams - that's my dream!

Barney from Swithiod spluttering

Hi Barney. I wonder what the proportion of planning applications for tidal barrages is compared to windfarms? Is it just me or dont you think our leader has already declared we will do this - at any price?

Fiona from -

I wonder why comment are not posted?

. from .

I can understand your dreams Barney but in reality what proportion of wind turbines compared to tidal barrages are in the planning system at the moment? You may defend your dreams but you are suggesting a bleak future for rural Scotland's largest employer, Tourism. Will your dream be an attraction based on the failure of so many windfarm visitor centres? Germany is presently the renewable energy capitol of Europe so perhaps you should wake up and check out what is being proposed. It will be a virtual monoculture of renewable energy in a Scotland patronised by power companies. Give me the diverse mix of independent businesses which tourism supports any day. Unlike your dream, mine is to live in the most energy efficient country in the world.

Fiona from -

P.S. all this talk of dreams. To start with I would pull the plug on the BBC,s use of the amusing purveyor of car porn Clarkson and his ilk. Next I would scrap the nuclear deterrent and use the money to build a user friendly bus, rail and ferry network that actually works together to suit the customer not the operator. Surcharge the sale of standby electrical appliances and the light fittings, surcharge all lighting which isn't low energy. Set household energy targets with a cheap base cost and ramp up charges for higher consumers. Rubbish dumps welcome the advice of tinkers ( probably a politically incorrect term but saves 3 lines of eloquence ) because they would surly make a better job of recycling and probably make a profit. Building guidelines which insisted on energy saving including rainwater top-up systems for toilets rather than flush expensive treated water down the drain ....don't get me started on dreams.

Fiona from -

Nice one Fiona ... But I never met a Government or Council yet which was run upon commonsense ... :-)

soaplady from voyaging into la-la land ...

Thanks Soaplady - mine seem like achievable dreams unlike some of the tosh being talked about renewable energy. I have this morning read about covering the Sahara desert with solar panels. I spilt my tea laughing at breakfast.. When the sand has blasted them to bits it will bury them due to their wing shape. Dispite this being a flawed idea I expect to read of it getting a lot of backing. Dont get me started.

Fiona from -

An idea being flawed *never* stops it from getting backing - just look at the windmills ...!! Slightly reminiscent of The Emperors New Clothes, isn't it ... Except we are the stupid paeons pandering and tolerating whatever is being spouted by those who *know* the idea is flawed, but are just out either to make a fast buck, or a name for themselves ...

soaplady from you got me started now ...!!

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