Following the approval of the proposed windfarm by a Council committee, we were told by Lewis Windpower, the developers, to look at the benefits of the project. Alright, here goes.
£3.4 million a year for leasing the land (benefits the landowners)
£1.85 million a year into a trust fund
Two of the three estates on which the turbines are to be built are in community ownership, Galson and Stornoway. Barvas is privately owned. £3.4 million is peanuts in comparison to the money that AMEC is going to make. And local electricity users do not stand to benefit from all that power in terms of reduced prices.
Four hundred jobs are not to be sniffed at. But whether they will be covered by local labour is seriously doubtful. Late in 2005, the Arnish Fabrication Yard advertised for 100 vacancies. They had to bring workers from mainland Scotland and outside the UK. Arnish is now defunct again.
I agree with the councillor for Ness that the island's heritage is going to be pillaged for peanuts. Personally, I think we're being offered a kist of beads and mirrors in exchange for the family silver, much like the native Indians on Manhattan Island in the 17th century. I was glad to note that councillors for the area came out strongly in opposition to the scheme.