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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 09:29 GMT
Firm makes case for turbine plans
Arnish fabrication yard. (Pic: Lewis Wind Power)
The project is expected to create work for the Arnish fabrication yard
Developers behind proposals for a multi-million pound wind farm on the island of Lewis have been meeting government officials.

The meeting came after ministers said they were "minded" to turn down the application from Lewis Wind Power.

It wants to site 181 massive wind turbines on Barvas Moor.

Almost 10,000 objections went to ministers, many from local people, but the scheme has been backed by the local council.

Last month, ministers indicated that they were minded to turn down the development because of European nature designations.

Lewis Wind Power, which is a joint venture between international engineering project company Amec and British Energy, has been given 21 days to change ministers' minds.

Bird life

The company wants to find out if there is any more that can be done to argue the case before Friday's deadline.

Supporters of the turbines have pointed to potential economic benefits, claiming more than 400 jobs would be created during construction, most of them at a fabrication yard at Arnish on Lewis.

However, RSPB Scotland has warned that the development threatens the habitats of rare wild birds.

Divers. (Pic: RSPB Images)
The RSPB is concerned for birds such as divers

The islands council's convener and vice convener have accused the environmental agencies who opposed the plan of "the most miserable form of environmental colonialism, sitting in the central belt lecturing the natives".

But bodies like the RSPB say bird life must be protected and many insist their way of life would be damaged by a development on this scale.

The isles' local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has taken its campaign backing the wind farm on Barvas Moor to the European Union.

Comhairle leaders also met Enterprise Minister Jim Mather, calling on the first minister to step into the row.

It wants Alex Salmond to intervene because it believes the project will bring jobs and other economic and social benefits.

The Scottish Government described the discussions as "useful and wide-ranging".

The final decision on the planning application rests with the Scottish Government.

Wind turbine row moves to Europe
28 Jan 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Massive wind farm 'turned down'
25 Jan 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Crofters' legal vow on wind farm
11 Jul 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Island wind farm receives backing
16 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Councillors back Lewis wind plan
08 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Wind farm may 'damage' island bog
02 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands


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