Mr Mather, the Minister for Energy (and many other things) has announced that a decision on the North Lewis Windfarm will be taken before the end of January 2008. Speaking to Leslie Riddoch on Radio Scotland on Friday, he would not be drawn which way the decision was likely to go. He did make it clear that a local referendum, as proposed by our MSP, is not on the cards.
On Friday morning, Mr Allan was quoted as saying that a local referendum, organised by local people outwith the Comhairle and the Scottish Government, would be another consideration for the Scottish Government in reaching a decision. Mr Mather's pronouncement appears to scuttle that idea.
Reading various local publications, nobody appears to be certain what the likely decision will be. It is a pity that a formal referendum will not be held, but unofficial polls over the past 3 years have indicated a broad level of opposition (varying from 50 to 90% of people in the island).
Taking into consideration the Scottish Government declared opposition to more nuclear powerstations on Scottish soil, and its headlong rush into windpower (both onshore and offshore) would appear to indicate a slant towards approving the North Lewis project. Other technologies (wave and tidal power) are not sufficiently developed to making a material contribution to Scotland's (the UK's? Europe's?) energy needs. Offshore windpower appears to be problematic though, because the seas around Scotland are too deep to house turbines. The Scottish Government is also shown to be amenable towards the wishes of big business, e.g. Donald Trump. The AMEC project is worth £500m.
My position is on record on this blog, as opposed. In summary: destruction of visual amenity, a fragile eco-system, a bird sanctuary and part of island life and history. Overstating of the job potential and a derisory financial contribution to the island economy, when compared to the hundreds of millions that stand to be made by AMEC et al.
It is now in the hands of Scottish Ministers and I await the decision with interest.