Highlands & Islands

Stornoway Wind Farm: Lewis turbines given green light

Wind farm
Image caption The company reduced the size of the proposed development from 42 to 36 turbines

Planning consent has been granted for a 36-turbine wind farm on the Western Isles.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing approved the proposals for a site less than a mile west of Stornoway, on Lewis.

Lewis Wind Power - a joint venture involving Amec, EDF Energy and the Stornoway Trust - had originally wanted to install 42 turbines.

But it reduced the scale of its plans following concerns about the impact on species like the golden eagle.

Fears had also been voiced about the effect on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area.

RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) withdrew their objections after the number of turbines was reduced.

The Western Isles' local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has welcomed Mr Ewing's decision.

It has been estimated that the Stornoway Wind Farm could supply electricity for up to 60,000 homes.

Project director Ron Peddie said the company was delighted by the decision.

He said: "From the very beginning we have sought to develop a wind farm based on the wishes of the local community.

"The development team is particularly pleased by the support shown by the public throughout the consultation process and we are confident that they will be pleased when the final wind farm is constructed."

Local wildlife

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said the wind farm was not perfect, but what had been approved was an improvement on the 42-turbine plan.

He added: "We will continue to work with the developer to ensure that the construction and operational impacts on wildlife are minimised and that the development is thoroughly monitored.

"We strongly support the development of renewable energy, including windfarms, to help reduce the threat of climate change to wildlife in Scotland and across the world.

"However, these developments must be appropriately sited and should not pose a threat to local wildlife."

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