Monday, 12 February 2007

Windfarm and democracy

Reading comments to previous posts on this subject, as well as other media coverage, I am beginning to feel that a cynical attitude of "après moi le déluge" is at large amongst our councillors, here in the Western Isles. Nineteen of our democratically elected representatives have expressed in interest in a severance payment if they decline to stand for re-election at the forthcoming Council elections in May. So, why be fussed about voting in a windfarm - you won't be standing at any rate, so there's no come-back.

I do want to exempt from this broadside those councillors from the West Side who voted against the windfarm at the committee stage last week.

I am not being nasty for the sake of it. At a meeting in Ness two weeks ago, the representative of Lewis Windpower was asked when he was going to go away. The reception afforded to LWP at Ness was apparently on the cool side of lukewarm. I wonder how loud people have to shout "WE DON'T WANT IT" before anyone takes notice.

The amount which will be paid as rent for the lease of the land for the purpose of the windfarms is stated as £5.75 million per annum, for the whole of the Western Isles (quote Fios, Ness Community Newspaper). I think that's an insult. If councillors from districts not directly affected by the windfarm think they're going to hit the jackpot for their area by approving a windfarm in North Lewis, they'll be sorely disappointed.

Why? Well, for a start, there is the proposed Glumag Harbour development for landing bulk cargoes like oil, gas, coal, roadsalt. Estimated cost: £23 million. That eats handsomely into the windfarm profits.

That not withstanding, I think I'm not going to like the early morning news bulletin on Radio Scotland this Friday.

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