Tuesday, 21 April 2009


The Environmental Services Committee of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has decided to approve the planning application for a 26-turbine windfarm in the Pairc area of Lochs. Subject to approval by the Scottish Government, the windfarm will be constructed in moorland south of Habost, Kershader and Garyvard to Gravir. Full council are likely to ratify the decision next week. The project costs more than £100m, is expected to create several dozen jobs, and have a great impact on the environment of South Lochs. Personally, I'm quite opposed to the scheme - I am among several thousand who have lodged objections with the Scottish Government.

Outline planning permission has also been granted for the new Nicolson Institute buildings along Springfield Road. The Health & Safety Executive have advised against the proposals, as they lie on the outer edge of a blast zone of the Scotia LPG plant further east along Sandwick Road. It is possible that the Scottish Government will call in the scheme, which will lead to delays. It is worth stressing that HSE only have an advisory role, and cannot torpedo any proposals. Their advice does weigh heavily though.

Above stories courtesy Hebrides News, with a sprinkle of my own take thrown in. I would like to link to a reaction, submitted by a Lemreway resident to the news that the Pairc windfarm was likely to be rubberstamped by the Council. It quite adequately summarises my opinions regarding the Comhairle on the matter of windfarms.


  1. You know what I am going to say.......I just cannot believe the pig-headed blinkered approach to Wind Turbines on the Island. It is just SO invasive to the Environment and has so little benefit to the local communities....but I guess the King-makers on the Island and Mainland will get what they want and do very nicely out of it........all we can do is when any work starts, make absolutely sure that Contractors obey the conditions laid down by CNES.........RJG

  2. There's a long way to go on this one and some of us have a couple of spanners to throw into the works...just to make things interesting.

    On your previous posts Al, great pickies. Much better promotion for the islands than anything put together by the tourist board, or the council!

  3. RJG and I have previous locked horns on this subject and agreed to disagree! I won't comment further therefore.

    However I entirely agree with the HebNews correspondent that it would be entirely pointless to register objections with CnES as that body doesn't appear to understand what local democracy is all about.

    I rather think the only way to stop it, if stop it is what the PEOPLE truly want then a legal challenge needs to be raised, or a High Court bid (or whatever the Scottish legal system calls it) to take out an injunction against further progress until the peoples' views have been properly heard and fully taken into account in the decision making process.

    I've intimated before ref Sunday sailings that a referendum would be a fair way of resolving the contentious debate. Surely the same applies to renewables? So how about a body of voters demanding a referendum on the subject?

    It is your democratic right to do so. Whilst in law the council does not have to abide by the outcome of a referendum, it would be folly indeed to proceed against a clear public mandate against (if that is how the vote went).

    It seems to be the best way forward now.

  4. PS: I've emailed the Electoral Commission to ask for guidance on the exact process required to demand a local poll.

  5. 4x......very sound advice even a little naive/optomistic concerning the People having a voice ( Labour were voted in with a stated mandate for Referendum on Europe/Constitution/Bill of Rights etc) and we have not been given that right....also without any form of PR (Proportional Representation) we might as well not bother with the vote....so my point is...I really wish/hope there is a way for us the People to have a say in our day2day life and see some proper consultation and transparency in Politics......regards....RJG

  6. Oh yes, I don't disagree RJG, but it would be hard for CnES and the Government to forge ahead regardless if a local democratic single question vote was firmly against their plans. That was my point.

    I soundly accept the optimistic, but defend myself against naivety!

  7. 4x....I accept your point and agree naive was probably a bit strong and is withdrawn with polite apology....RJG

  8. The Referendum and Elections Division of the Scottish Government has advised me that "there are no provisions in law that you can use to require a Scottish local authority to hold a local referendum ... but a council is free to organise a poll if they see fit to do so."

    So Scottish electoral law differs from the English system which in this particular instance is most unfortunate because it means that, essentially, CnES can do whatever the hell they like and the residents can't do a bloomin' thing about it, bar vote out the rotten wood at the next election.

    My apologies for setting a false hare running.

  9. The Health & Safety Executive have advised against the proposals, as they lie on the outer edge of a blast zone of the Scotia LPG plant further east along Sandwick Road