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The truths they don't want you to read....

Friday, January 11, 2008

Windfarm decision

So according to the Enterprise Minister speaking to Lesley Riddoch, "There is going to be a decision made very shortly", and "I think we have consulted widely and heard local opinion loud and clear."

All of which is slightly opaque, but there is one certainty - there will be no referendum.

Allied to the fairly vague press release issued by our MSP finally calling for a clear and early decision, it all seems to add up to an interesting few weeks.

I'm very pleased that the matter should be resolved soon.

Interpreting Mr Mather's words I think I can safely state that there is going to be no Public Local Inquiry, and we are going to get a clean decision. Mr Mather's words make me think it is going to be rejected, but Mr Allan's press release makes me think approval is on the cards. So I haven't a clue what the likely outcome is going to be.

If it is approved, I will be delighted, a position I have been advocating since I considered the proposals in detail.

If it is refused, then the question is "What now for Lewis?". I have also argued that if the moor is such an important national resource, then the community should be rewarded for not disturbing it. In other words, the Government should effectively buy the development rights from the public, providing the communities with alternative funding to allow them to develop. This what the political opponents should have been arguing, rather than just for a straight refusal.

However, I fear that the area will be sterilised by a refusal, preventing any future developments in the area whether by the community or third parties.

And with the community having a huge windfall snatched from under it's noses.

Refusal would bring with it a concomitant responsibility on the Government to find alternative opportunities for the islands to secure our future, rather than cast us aside as another St Kilda.


Anonymous said...

Refusal would bring with it a concomitant responsibility on the Government to find alternative opportunities for the islands to secure our future, rather than cast us aside as another St Kilda.

Spoken like a true statist, who believes that 'government'--which really means 'other citizens must foot the bill'--must be responsible for everything.

Why should the Isles be exempt from normal economic imperatives? Windfarms make exactly zero net contribution to the grid, and in any case should not be subsidized--they should stand or fall on their own innate profitability or lack thereof. Anything else is merely state subsidy for an intrinsically unprofitable industry, in precisely the same manner as the old Communist command economies.

Nobody is forced to live on Lewis, or Harris, or anywhere else for that matter. Find economic ventures which are actually profitable--which don't rely on other taxpayers to prop them up--and Lewis, etc will thrive.

If some areas of Lewis are set aside as 'reserves', that's no different than any other areas of the country which are so set aside. I don't hear other districts asking for payouts (from other citizens' pockets, to be blunt) simply because a nature reserve, natural park, or area of scientific interest happens to lie nearby. No; they find some profitable economic activity which doesn't require the invasion of such areas.

So let's hear no more self-indulgent immature demands for other taxpayers, who are already struggling as it is, to subsidize you merely because you choose to live on Lewis. And let us certainly not hear any twaddle about 'paying to compensate because you cannot use the moors'.

Time to get off the teat, grow up, and be adults, you lot. You have absolutely no claim on my wallet, or that of any other British taxpayer.

Clear enough for you?

Anonymous said...

anon 1-
I suggest you google 'set aside' to see what subsidies have been given to our poor landowners (not necessarily the farmers)for doing precisely nothing with the land for the last 20 odd years

Anonymous said...

Our much maligned MSP has called for a local referendum, the result of which should be taken into account with the final decision on this project.

Don't think there won't be a Local Public Inquiry, bearing in mind the level of registered opposition to the scheme.

If it is rejected, well, we still have the Harris Tweed Industry revival, centered on Shawbost.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:52

Well said I live here surrounded by the grant/hand out mentality and the wind farms are just an extension of that - cash for doing nothing and bail out the usless councils coffers.

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:33
I would love to know if you are a working age local but I suppose you won't ever tell us.
Refusal of the wind farm will mean almost definite closure of Arnish once they have completed the Turkish order. Up to 100 jobs lost.
What else is there for the people of the Islands to do? I guess we could take the advice of Anon 9:52 and all move off the Island to find alternative employment, then what would happen to the Islands?
Tourists love to come here, snatch their two weeks of isolation in a tent or caravan and then leave and expect nothing to change year on year whilst locals are expected to live off meager incomes to maintain the status quo for them.

Nobody is forced to live on Lewis, or Harris, or anywhere else for that matter. Find economic ventures which are actually profitable--which don't rely on other taxpayers to prop them up--and Lewis, etc will thrive

Written by someone who knows nothing about the Islands: the price of fuel, transport and general cost of living being just a few examples of why the Islands are so unique and deserve to be recognised as so.

All I can say is that we are heading towards being one big retirement farm, and the only people in a job (if they don't decide to leave the Islands) are the overpaid GPs and Consultants. What an outcome.

John Kirriemuir said...

Interesting ... looks like there will be two decisions / announcements concerning long-term Lewis issues quite close to each other. My predictions (not necessarily what I hope for):

1. Calmac will agree to a late Saturday ferry, but not a Sunday ferry. Assessment of the late Saturday ferry will be the reason given for not agreeing to a Sunday ferry yet.

2. Decision in favour of Lewis windfarm. There will be a compromise, possibly on the minimum distance from houses to turbines being extended, thus reducing the overall plan by a minority of turbines.

3. Safest prediction of all: the Stornoway accommodation sector will have a short mini-boom in late January as the media, interested in either or both issues, descend on Lewis.

Anonymous said...

The astonishing announcement leaves Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan red-faced


However it seems the SNP politician has done a complete u-turn on the issue

All from the Stornoway Gazette, with more to come yet.

Persumably our MP is just as red-faced.

Anonymous said...

Sunny Side,

I am of working age. Working but not local. The latter point debars me from effective business support from agencies such as HIE WIE etc who are run by a locals cartel and prefer to throw their money year after year in the vain attempt to keep Arnish going. How many small business grants suffer because of this?

On the Arnish point if you want energy production on the Islands why not build a nuclear plant at Arnish - that would give locals and main landers alike hundreds of jobs for countless years rather than short time dirty work (taken up any way by willing hard working foreign workers any way as you must know)on the moor land of Lewis and North Harris. The turbines like Arnish before will just bring boom and bust. A reactor would provide jobs at all skill levels and feed massive investment and spending into the community. Our Executive might pride itself on being nuclear free (not that would stop down wind radiation from any of the hundreds of plants across Europe!! but ask the people in Scotland that work in areas that have reactors now - they would certainly vote for a renewal of plant in their area.

Angus said...

Anon 4:05, I love the idea we have a shortage of local people to work on the windfarms, but we will have enough nuclear engineers to ensure jobs for all.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.05 "..but not local. The latter point debars me from effective business support from agencies such as HIE WIE etc who.."
you clown- that the most important qualification for a grant!
The second most is to guarantee you can fail after getting at least three more grants...
Third don't ask for £10k ask for £900k+ and after seven years you get to keep/ sell the plant!
Helicopter lessons anyone?

Anonymous said...

From the Telegraph:-

On the other side of the coin, there is the Nats' declared preference for renewable energy.

I confess that I've forgotten how much of Europe's wind Scotland possesses, but Mr Salmond always assures us that we've got more than we know what to do with. And he insists that this, plus the development of wave power, is the way forward.

Interestingly, we will be able to test his administration's commitment to that very thing in a few short weeks. Jim Mather, Mr Swinney's deputy, said yesterday that a decision on the Barvas Moor wind farm complex in Lewis would be announced shortly.

This project, with 181 turbines, would be the biggest of its kind in Europe and its approval would signal that the Nats are serious about the development of wind power. The trouble is that their attitude to such turbines, in the Western Isles and elsewhere, is ambivalent to say the least.

In Lewis, their MSP Alasdair Allan blows with the wind - if you'll forgive the clumsy pun - on the issue, one minute seeming to support it, another apparently opposed but all the time calling for a referendum when he knows full well that there is no provision for such polls in planning regulations.

Anonymous said...

As the current MSP and MP were elected more recently than the former MSP and MP surely they can legitimately claim to bear more in tune with what people in the Western Isles want on wind farms and a range of other matters.

The local voters had a choice and they made it.

Anonymous said...

Assuming the LWP monstrosity gets the go-ahead, just how do the developers propose to get past the 700+ north Lewis crofters who will not under any circumstances allow them to use the common grazings, and who will no doubt take it all the way to the European courts if necessary?

Angus said...

Eyoop, that is not a planning consideration, and should not form part of the decision being taken by the Government.

It is a matter for the developers to get the necessary legal agreements. And if they don't then the development doesn't happen, even if permission is granted.