Page last updated at 06:33 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 07:33 UK

Lewis wind turbine inquiry opens

Callanish standing stones
Protestors fear the turbines will damage the Callanish stones

A public inquiry into plans to build a 53-turbine wind farm close to a prehistoric site on the Isle of Lewis is to open in Stornoway.

Landowner Nicholas Oppenheim believes the 120m plans by his Beinn Mhor firm will boost the island's economy.

The developer plans to lease six turbines and the income they generate to the local community in a deal they hope will be worth millions of pounds.

But protestors fear the turbines will damage the Callanish standing stones.

Mr Oppenheim had originally hoped to build 130 turbines on the Eishken Estate, but agreed to reduce this to 53 following objections from RSPB Scotland over the possible impact on birds of prey in the area such as golden eagles.

Ministers last month turned down proposals for Europe's biggest wind farm - a 181 turbine development - which had been proposed for the north of Lewis.

The inquiry is expected to last up to seven days.


SEE ALSO
'Largest' wind farm plan rejected
21 Apr 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Reduced wind farm plan approved
16 Jun 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Villagers 'opposed' to wind farms
11 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Ancient stone circle discovered
28 Aug 03 |  Manchester

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