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

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Eishken wind farm

According to a very badly written, poorly researched, and vacuous piece of journalism in the Scotland on Sunday, the Eishken wind farm is due to be approved by the Minister during his visit later this month.

I must confess to mixed views on this outcome, which I believe is being approved for all the wrong reasons. I gave evidence to the Public Local Inquiry, so my position on the application has been clear for a long time.
The source said the farm would get the green light when energy minister Jim Mather visits Lewis later this month to discuss economic issues. The scheme will be given planning permission, the source suggested, even if the public inquiry found against it. He told Scotland on Sunday: "The decision is going to be made shortly and find in favour. Because of the financial downturn everyone is keen to boost the economy. The minister is going across on April 16 to talk about energy and the economy, and it's a fair bet that's when it will be announced."
There you have all the signs of poor - indeed, very bad - Government decision making, where political priorities take the lead over proper consideration of the facts.

Planning Permission will be granted, regardless of the PLI decision.
Wasn't it a waste of time and money (£1m?) to hold the PLI when the decision is going to be disregarded anyway. The avoidance of due process is setting a dangerous precedent, but also opens the decision for legal challenge by opponents.

And this is what will happen.

Impact on Arnish
Give the 'importance' of this approval for the economy of the islands, wouldn't it have made sense to have taken this decision a long time ago to ensure continuity of work for Arnish? Or did it only become 'important' when they ran out of other ideas?

Unless Bi-Fab can be granted the tenancy of Arnish promptly then the planning requirement to build the turbine towers at Arnish may lapse, meaning that any benefit for the islands will be reduced. [There is another story here, but one I cannot currently comment on].

Expect to see a mad rush to get the paperwork signed before the visit so that the Minister can 'open' the facility that his actions previously closed.

Political impact....
Oh, this will be so much fun to watch.

Both the MP and MSP opposed the windfarms, and promised they would never be built.

Now they will have to support their Minister in giving approval; which will have a serious impact on their credibility and prospects for re-election.

With every other (very limited) attempt to rejuvenate the local economy having failed, suddenly the Government believe that renewables are the way forward - exactly what the Comhairle and HIE have been telling them for years, and exactly what they have opposed over the years. But having no other ideas, they are having to backtrack and reverse their position with the minimum political damage.

This is an appalling decision, based on a failure of other ideas, a serious misunderstanding of the issues surrounding the islands' economy and renewable energy, and the Government is being forced into an embarassing corner by their own elected representatives.

Bad Government - bad processes - incompetence and ineptness - but the right decision at the end of the day.


Anonymous said...

I seem to remember a certain council dis-regarding public opinion for the construction of other windfarms on the island.

What was your opinion about that Angus at that time?

Anonymous said...

This decision was made two years ago- witness the survey ships in the Minch checking the routes for the cable across to Loch Broom.
The money men don't spend that kind of cash without cast iron deals, even if it is only now surfacing.

Living in the Pairc said...

If the article is accurate then 'Slimey' Mather will not only have to announce Eishken (which will be fun seeing the Saltaire waving SNP giving an English businessman of the worst kind (banker and hedgefunds etc) an open season to make vast piles of money and exploit the Scots in both finances and heritage. We Tax payers will be paying for his profits and electricity consumers bills will rise to buy the expensive power when ever it is actually generated. Mather will have to confirm the Connector at Gravir, The Pairc Windfarm and the Beauly - Denny grid lines.

Its all or nothing you see with On Shore Renewables on Lewis - to have one you have to have the lot - without one you have nothing.

The various Trusts and associated local Lairds will come to the fore with the Erisort Trust handing over the empty Business Park (publically paid for)to SSE and the Aline forest (publically paid for) to Oppenheim for access to his develiopment. Full co-operation from the Pairc Trust (who will now get the Land from the Government and get rid of the embarrasment of the Land Reform Acts weakness) in land use (to be publically paid for) by SSE and a collective thrust of hands out for easy money, oh the days of the grant mentality and hand outs never really went away. Just wait until the bitter feuds of who gets what starts - if they get a hall we need a hall, if they build there we want to build there. And... what really makes me laugh - the church. No objection to 7 day generation from any of them, Sabbath observance goes by the way when there is 7 day profit making to be done. When it comes to making money it seems that also the Tenth Commandment goes by the board as greed takes hold.

Its not finished yet I expect I suspect, getter minds than mine will have a planned approach to the law and to making European challenges.

As you say about Beach Boy and Barra Boy they will be keeping a very low profile from the electorate having gotten their cosy seats on the back of the 'anti brigade' votes. To think MWT recommended them to vote SNP!

Interesting times ahead.

Anonymous said...

The Eishken windfarm can now only be halted if the Beauly - Denny high voltage electricity link is torpedoed. Please spare us the flashbacks to what should have been done. It wasn't, and partially during your tenure as councillor.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it disgust people to have a pr*ck like Oppenheim talking about us like we are some sort camp for deprived? I find it gross that our politicians are prepared to be complicit in this crap just so that WIDT can get their hands on a few quid.

If you listen to this sort of sh*t for long enough you being to believe it - the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Maybe the only good thing about it getting consent is that at last he will sell up and ship out, no doubt leaving the estate in the hands of some faceless utility.

Anonymous said...

Do you know what the PLI decision was? and if it was a recomendation to refuse planning surely the precedent was set many years ago during the Lingerbay fiasco when the PLI recomended approval and yet planning was refused.
Does it really matter if the decision for Eishken is related to the current climate so long as the investment comes to the ISLAND.
Why are churches going to object to what we already have 7 day electricity generation.
Oppenhiem may be all the things you said but the bottom line is that he has the financial backing to deliver a project that WILL benefit the Island. Yes he will also benefit but why shouldn't he, it is his land which he paid for, and is probibably one of the better run Estates on Lewis.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Annie 6.54Pm

Dr Evadne said...

To 6.54pm: Mr Oppenheim will be using subsidies paid for by you and I to fund his turbines. His land will be sub-leased to the utility company. Expect huge rises in your energy bills and eventually your council tax bills to pay for the up-grades of the crappy roads we have here. If you think driving from north to south is bad at the moment, wait until a few tons of plant have been up and down it umpteen times a day. If there is any community benefit it will go into the back pocket of CNES who will waste it on themselves. Where in the rest of the UK has a windfarm been of benefit to the local community. If anyone can provide examples, I'll go and help Oppenheim dig up his land.

Apparently I am a member of the Muaithabhal Windfarm Trust which gives the false hope that we all have a share in Eishken project. According to Iain Maciver/Mr Oppenheim 350 of it's 600 members have approved of a windfarm developemnt at Eishken. I don't ever remember being asked to vote on this subject same as I never signed up to be a member of the Muaithabhal WT (MWT!)...I can't even spell it. It seems that Oppenheim and his mates are much more desperate to make money than the rest of us are.

Anonymous said...

I see Annie mentioned she is a regular at Oppenheims and contrary to local opinion in Laxey fully committed to screwing the Islands with industrial builds. She couldn't even have the guts - she has a lot after all, to back the folk of Gravir against the Interconnector. So much for local community spirit. MacLean says the right thing when needed but in the end will sell out Pairc - sorry chaps its got to happen. The Gin Queen and the Talibun - serve them right for not being from Harris. Southern Isles Councillors good lets screw the tourist industry north of us but get a good share of the cash - Toad will see us alright.

We are screwed and by our own which makes it worse.

Anonymous said...

If it gains approval with nearly 2,000 objections, against letters of support in single figures, then we're all phlucked.

Anonymous said...

Doomed we're all doomed.

Anonymous said...

To 8.48 from 6.54
Naw wrang again
Ma baw's are between ma legs.

Anonymous said...

To 6.54, hahaha ! sounds more like your balls are in the palm of Mr Oppenheim.

Anonymous said...

we are not doomed we just need to change direction...

Anonymous said...

What like cutting ourselves adrift and paddling like hell towards ......