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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 10:37 GMT
Island wind farm receives backing
Wind turbine
Under the Lewis proposals, 181 turbines would be built
Plans for one of Europe's largest onshore wind farms have been approved by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council).

The 500m project, which will see 176 giant turbines built on the Isle of Lewis, has divided the community.

Opponents warn of long-term environmental damage while supporters point to economic benefits, including more than 400 jobs during construction.

Councillors voted by 18 to eight to support the plan.

The comhairle's backing was given on condition that five turbines were removed from the 181 Lewis Wind Power (LWP) proposed for the site on Barvas Moor.

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

Critics of the scheme insist it would scar the landscape and damage one of the largest peat bogs in the world.

The RSPB said the Lewis wind farm threatened habitats and bird-life of European significance.

However, developers claimed that even after construction the project would create 70 ongoing operating and maintenance jobs.

Without damage

They also said tens of millions of pounds would be injected into the island's economy.

The plans were approved with a recommendation that the number of turbines be reduced by five.

A council spokesman said: "The decision now rests with the Scottish Executive but the council has clearly set out its decision to approve the application subject to more than 50 conditions."

David Hodkinson, director of the developers Lewis Wind Power, said: "We fully respect the decision to ask for the removal of the five turbines from our revised proposal and believe that it is still large enough to deliver the key objectives we set for the development.

"We also believe the Lewis wind farm will meet these objectives without damaging the integrity of any area protected under European law for wildlife and habitat interests."

Councillors back Lewis wind plan
08 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Wind farm may 'damage' island bog
02 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
RSPB disputes wind jobs forecast
30 Jan 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Revised wind farm plans unveiled
12 Dec 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Views split on Lewis wind farms
22 Aug 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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