A controversial £70m wind farm has been given planning permission to be
built on Lewis.
Councillors breached their own policy and went against recommendations to
refuse the turbines on crofters’ grazing ten miles outside Stornoway.
Each turbine in the 42MW development at Druim Leathann will be 410ft tall.
Council officials said the scheme was too close to villages and would
impose significant impacts on landscape, amenity and homes.
Three quarters of the turbines lie inside a one mile buffer zone from
houses which is contrary to council policy for large wind farms.
A planning committee was told on Tuesday a quarter of the residents wanted
the scheme to go ahead.
Cllr Catriona Stewart pointed out the 53 letters of support from locals
with only one against was “clear cut” backing for the scheme. There are
less than 200 houses in the area.
Cllr Rae Mackenzie stated: “The community (bar one) is unanimously in
favour and we should listen to that view.”
Alasdair Macleod of 2020 Renewables says community benefit payments could
be worth £294,000 per year – £7m over the lifetime of the development.
The wind farm is expected to bring £63m to the Lewis economy and create 70
jobs during construction.
Mr Macleod said: “It’s great to get consent after many years of hard work
and gives us the certainty to carry on to try and secure the grid
connection and make the very large grid payment in early 2014.
“We have a grid connection of April 2017 but we think that is going to be
delayed and we are waiting to hear from (grid operator) SSE by the end of
this year for their latest expectations for the connection date.”