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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Green light for Lewis wind farm
Wind turbine
The plans involve hundreds of wind turbines on Lewis
Plans to build the largest onshore wind farm in Europe have been approved by a committee of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council).

Lewis Wind Power proposed to build 234 turbines over three estates on Lewis, costing a total of 411m.

The plan, passed by the council's environmental services committee, received more than 4,000 objections.

It is expected to have a more difficult passage when it is considered by the full council on Wednesday evening.

Each turbine would be 400ft high and they would be built on three estates - Stornoway (74), Barvas (63) and Galson (97).

Unanimous approval

The construction phase would see the provision of more than 300 full-time equivalent jobs.

The committee unanimously approved the development on the condition that 25 turbines are removed, reducing the number from 234 to 209.

This was because some turbines would be too close to surrounding houses whilst others would have been placed in areas of archaeological value.

Those in support of the wind farm projects say they will bring much needed jobs to the Isle of Lewis and will boost the local economy.

'New life'

Councillor Keith Dodson said: "This is an opportunity to breathe new life and prosperity into the islands."

Objectors have warned about the environmental impact of the development.

The community-owned Stornoway Trust Estate would receive 2.1m per annum for the landowners and the same amount for crofters.

Local communities would get 750,000 a year and the Western Isles Development Trust 702,000.

If the Stornoway trust took up the offer of having a 20% stake in the ownership of the turbines, a total of 25.75m could be brought in per annum.

Separate application

The committee also approved a separate application for permission to build 130 turbines on the 40,000-acre Eishken Estate on Lewis.

About 1,000 objections were lodged to this plan, which the developers say would create 95 jobs during construction and 67 over its 25-year lifespan.

The council spokesman said this application had been accepted due to the "socio-economic" factors associated with it.

  • A new report by the Scottish Wind Assessment Project (Swap) has revealed almost half the UK's hydro-electric plants receive lucrative subsidies originally intended to assist the development of new sources of renewable energy.

    Most of the operations are in Scotland and have been generating green electricity profitably for many years.

    The Swap document reveals that the government's Renewables Obligation scheme means consumers pay up to 80m a year over and above the market price for electricity generated by hydro plants.

    It said most are 50 years old and generate very little "new" electricity and claimed, as a result of the legislation, the UK's overall hydro-generation capacity has gone down rather than up for the first time in a century.

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    06 Oct 04 |  Scotland


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