Sunday, 17 February 2008


It is reported that Lewis Windpower propose to mitigate the environmental impact of their windfarm by building it in stages. They would construct 30 to 80 turbines, then wait for a couple of years to assess the environmental impact. If it is not too bad, more turbines will be put up. This has apparently happened in the Thames Estuary, where the RSPB have pressed for a phased development.

To me this proposal does not make sense. It is like saying: "We all know stones sink if you throw then into a pond. If you let them in gently, they will sink, but perhaps not as harshly". The RSPB have declared that the Lewis Windfarm would be rejected anywhere in Europe, and is backed in that assertion by the EU Commissioner for the Environment.

Western Isles Council is set to approve a windfarm on the Eishken Estate, 25 miles south of Stornoway. The windfarm, numbering 16 turbines, is a subset of the 53 turbine windfarm currently subject of a planning application in front of Scottish Ministers. A local public inquiry is entangled in a row, after interested parties were not notified of a hearing into the proposal. Although the 16 turbines are subject to the same inquiry, legal advice appears to suggest that Western Isles Council can still give the go ahead.

I cannot comment on legal matters, but the way the Eishken Windfarm has been split up and subdivided (aye, a double positive) looks like a crude attempt at avoiding closer scrutiny by the Scottish Government, by proposing a windfarm which will generate less than 50 MW. Any windfarm below the 50MW threshold can be approved by the local authority, and Western Isles Council has shown itself to be unreservedly in favour of windpower, at all costs.

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