<![CDATA[ I am writing about two separate issue in the Kinloch area (southeast Lewis), which have a link - windfarms. Yup. Them again.
The Pairc buy-out. The people in South Lochs have submitted a hostile buy-out bid against sitting landowner Barry Lomas. Basically, they want to invoke the right to buy their land against the wishes of the landowner, as enshrined in law since 2003. The Pairc Trust want to use some of their land for energy purposes (read: windturbines), something that Mr Lomas also wants to do. This may well be the reason why he has raised formidable obstacles in the way of the Pairc Trust's attempts at buy-outs. Pairc Crofters Ltd, the company that the landowner has in place to look after his affairs in the district, has leased out the land to a third party. This is called an interposed lease. The third party, incidentally, is another of Mr Lomas's enterprises.
The 2003 law I referred to earlier is subject to review (read my post Crofting Reform) because its application on the ground has thrown up difficulties. The instrument of the interposed lease is one of them, and the Pairc Trust is very unhappy with them. They are going to challenge it in the Land Court (which has been set up to deal with disputes like this). That may take a year. It is very likely, bearing in mind the huge sums of money that are to be made with wind energy, that Mr Lomas will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. This could delay the process by anything of 3 to 5 years.
A minor problem (by comparison) is the mapping of South Lochs. There is no definitive register of land in the area - crofts are referred to by description. E.g., "the land to the southwest of the road to Stornoway on the outskirts of the village". There is no map showing which pieces of land belong to who.
Last night, a meeting was held at Balallan to explain the changes in the Eishken windfarm planning application. (I wasn't able to go, as buses stop running in and out of Kinloch after 6pm). As reported before, landowner Nick Oppenheim has proposed to reduce the number of turbines from 133 to 53. This reduces the share of the community in the windfarm proportionally. ]]>