Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Industrial Lewis

<![CDATA[ Lewis Windpower has announced that it has downsized the proposed North Lewis Windfarm to 181 turbines. This is a further reduction from the original size, as mooted in 2004, of 234 turbines. Consultation is presently scheduled to take place over the Christmas and New Year holidays. The public buildings where the documents pertaining to the proposals are located will be closed for much of the time. An extension to the consultation period is being sought.

Above map is taken from the BBC Scotland newsreport. and shows (in blue) the turbines that have now been deleted from the LWP plans.

I was shocked to hear the MSP for the Western Isles taking a stance in favour of this major development, whereas there is a sizeable proportion of islanders who are opposed. This percentage runs at anywhere between 50 and 80% The MSP has claimed that a certain number of turbines are needed to justify the inter- connector, a big word for subsea electricity transmission cable to the mainland. It sounds as if the islands are not properly represented at Holyrood, if the MSP is not prepared to stand up for the majority of his constituents in Lewis, who don't want this windfarm.

Secondly, the Keighley, Yorkshire, based businessman John Haggas has taken over the Harris Tweed industry, or at least 95% of it, with a view to reinvigorate it. The Shawbost mill, part of the KM Group, is earmarked for closure. The Parkend mill is also part of the deal, reportedly.
Harris Tweed can only be called such if its manufacturing processes wholly take place in the Outer Hebrides, and are subject to the Orb trademark requirements.
The industry has been in the doldrums for ten years, following its implosion in the 1990s. I sincerely hope that Mr Haggas will put the Harris Tweed industry back where it belongs: as a major industry for the Outer Hebrides, with a firm, community backed weaving base. ]]>

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