<![CDATA[ The revised planning application for the windfarm on the Eishken Estate, submitted by development consortium Beinn Mhor Power has been approved by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on Thursday, June 15th. In a meeting of the full council, the scheme was voted through at 15 votes for, 5 against.
The original planning application involved the construction of 133 turbines on the west of the Eishken estate, around the hills of Beinn Mhor and Muaitheabhal. This would also necessitate the construction of 77 km / 48 miles of roads and subsidiary infrastructure. Following objections from SNH and other conservation bodies, concerned about the resident population of eagles and other creatures, Eishken owner Nick Oppenheim decided to scale the project down. There will now only be 53 turbines and 41 km / 26 miles of road. It should be born in mind that the Eishken estate is uninhabited, except for Eishken Lodge, 7 miles southeast of Balallan. Its original inhabitants were cleared out of 36 villages in the 19th century.
Like the proposed North Lewis windfarm, this project is controversial. Kinloch Community council, the district which encompasses Eishken, was in favour, although 130 residents lodged objections against the revised application. As I have explained in earlier posts on the Eishken Windfarm, the residents of Kinloch stand to gain financially by this project. Residents of Kinloch could join the Muaitheabhal trust, the community section of the Eishken project. As things stand at the moment, they have a share in 6 turbines (a substantial reduction from the original figure).
Objections have also been put forward against the original planning application by residents of Loch Seaforth-side, from Ath Linne (on the Lewis/Harris border) to Maraig. The 50 people that live there will have the benefit of the view of 53 turbines whirring away on the hills on the other side of the loch, whilst reaping none of the financial benefits that the Kinloch people get. I recently noticed that the restored Ardvourlie Castle (at Scaladale) has been placed on the market, and its outgoing residents were the most vociferous letter writers in the Stornoway Gazette - against the Eishken windfarm.
The planning application will now go in front of the Scottish Executive, and if my reading of the current political climate is correct, they will rubberstamp this project. Fantastic prospect.