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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
'Pay back' prediction on peat gas
Peat cutting on Lewis. Picture by Martin Scott
Peat is cut for fuel on the Western Isles
A wind farm company has said greenhouse gases released during the construction of a scheme on peat land will be "paid back" in clean energy within months.

Lewis Wind Power (LWP) predicts it will take seven months for the turbines planned for Barvas Moor to cancel out the carbon dioxide (CO2) released.

The pledge comes in the wake of a call by Wetlands International for greater protection for the world's peat lands.

It warns that the areas store huge quantities of harmful gases.

The Netherlands-based organisation has voiced particular concern for tropical peat lands, however, its worries have been seen as relevant to the large swathes of peat in the Highlands and Islands.

The Comhairle welcomes the call from Wetlands International for a finance mechanism for the management of wetlands
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar spokesman

It has called for finance to be made available to fund projects to manage and protect peat lands.

John Price, LWP development director, said the site of the company's proposed 176-turbine scheme on the Western Isles had been selected to avoid the highest quality peat and areas protected as part of the Lewis Peat lands Special Area of Conservation.

He said: "Lewis Wind Power then carried out a carbon balance study to ensure that the wind farm would result in a net reduction of carbon emissions.

"The results of the assessment show that the wind farm will pay back the carbon released during it's construction, which includes carbon released from the peat, in approximately seven months."

Major issue

Mr Price added that peat removed during construction would be used in the restoration of abandoned peat cuttings.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) said carbon emissions from peat was a major issue.

The authority backed LWP's plans and its estimate on the length of time it would take to tackle C)2 released during construction.

A spokesman said: "The Comhairle believes that tackling carbon emissions is a critical policy imperative and that the most significant contribution that the Outer Hebrides can make is through the generation of clean, green, renewable energy."

He added: "The Comhairle welcomes the call from Wetlands International for a finance mechanism for the management of wetlands and for the need to protect wetlands from degradation."

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