Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Reverse Don Quixote

Remember Don Quixote and Sancho Panza? Cervantes' heroes, forever battling windmills. Well, the reverse can be said of our local council. They are battling to get a huge windfarm to Lewis, come hell or high water.

Yesterday, the Scottish Government's Energy Minister, Jim Mather, spoke at a renewables forum in Stornoway, saying that the Western Isles had the greatest potential for renewable energy in the whole of Scotland. Not just windpower, but also tidal, wave and solar. Any such project would have to be viewed against European environmental legislation. His remarks are varyingly seen as a hint towards approval of the North Lewis Windfarm or as a hint towards final rejection. The Scottish Government has told the developers, LWP, on January 25 that they were "minded to reject".

The local council has decided not to wait for Mr Mather's final decision, but has already launched an alternative scheme. Another giant windfarm, stretching from Stornoway to Ness, but this time in community ownership to the tune of 50%.

The Comhairle has said that it intends to open discussions with community- owned estates (Stornoway and Galson), to make this happen. Generating electricity on this sort of scale, according to the council, would (I quote) "fund environmental management work that will enhance the sustainability of a wide range of habitats and support jobs for their interpretation."

I think I need to lie down in a darkened room now.

Nothing has changed, except for the ownership issue. If the current LWP plans are turned down - so will the new plans.

1 comment:

  1. "When are the council going to get it into their heads that this is not about money. It's about preserving some of the islands most unique features - the environment and culture which you can't put a price on. I wonder if any of them have actually bothered to walk across the area they intend to site these on and look at exactly what they intend to destroy."

    JS from Lewis

    "Surely on a matter of such importance to the future of the island it should be possible to hold a local referendum to decide the issue.It seems that some forces are trying to railroad through a decision."

    Murdo Matheson from Stilton .Cambs.