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back to article Scottish Government to block wind farm plan

The Scottish Government will reject plans to build a 181-turbine wind farm on the Isle of Lewis, according to the BBC's Gaelic news service Radio nan Gaidheal. The £500m project, proposed by Lewis Wind Power, was approved in February 2007 by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) members, who voted 18 to eight in …

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Anonymous Coward

For goodness sake

If they dont start approving some green energy projects it's not going to matter what damage they would do, the rising sea level blah blah is going to do far worse surely.

I'd be happy for them to put a big wind farm next to me, least that might mean the council would fix the street lights

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Not so green

I was once at meeting with Johnny Ball (of Think of a Number etc. fame) as a guest speaker.

By 'eck did he lay into the "Greens" (it's quite funny seeing a childhood hero swear on stage :)

Anyway, he was going on about how the Greens claim wind farms have no environmental impact: "they dig a hole in the rock bigger than your dining room and fill it with concrete which can *never* be restored. No impact my arse..." and so on.

Very entertaining and providing the other side of the debate at last.

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The dumb really do rule the world

If all the predictions turn out to be true, global warming increases, the sea levels rise etc... Then your STUPID wetlands will be really wet, probably underwater, maybe under ice.

We can put them on hills because they will spoil the view, the view of what an impending ice sheet or a desert like environment (depending on which way it could go)

We cant put them out to see because it will spoil the view for the locals living by the sea (they are even taking them down in America because of this). But if the sea levels rise their houses will be the first to go.

I have this theory, I would rather be alive (human kind, future generations etc...) and have to see some ugly windmills for a few years until they figure alternative energies, than dead, fighting for drinking water, being a refugee or fighting a war due to the disasters global warming may cause.

Also a warning to all those reading this. You will probably fall into the 20 - 50 age range now. So if in 20 years things go tits you will be in the 40 - 70 age range. A little older, a little slower (I will be 50), a little less chance of surviving.

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Anonymous Coward

lol

No nuclear and no wind.

It seems that scotland is to be powered by nationalist and socialist ideals alone.

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Unhappy

Stupid buggers.

RSPB says it might harm the bird population a bit. Well, I wonder what will happen when the Norfolk broads are flooded by the sea rising.

Oh, and they might "spoil the natural environment". A damn sight less than global warming will change the world's environment if we don't start building some renewable power systems.

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Silver badge

How about...

We install wind farms on the top of all Govt buildings? Given the amount of hot air that comes out of these places, we should be able to power Europe.

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I find it amusing...

...that the very people who are demanding alternative power are always the first to object when it's built near them.

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Sense from Scotland

Sense from the Scottish Executive. It's a beautiful area of moorland which would definitely not have been improved by the addition of turbines as high as the hills themselves.

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Alert

In The Dark Soon...

Will any future visitors to Scotland kindly bring the following on their trip;

(Even more) warm clothing.

Candles.

Firewood, (Coal if ye prefer)

Matches.

Batteries (for ony electronic items you really CANNA dae without during your stay).

Paraffin (for the lamps, ye ken)

It'll be like that if these government numpties dinnae get their act the gither.

Nae nuclear. (Well, no on Wee Alec's watch)

Nae wind power. (frightens the grouse!)

Nae wave power (they only last a wee while!)

Nae coal power (nae mair scottish coal!)

Water power? (nae enough tae gan roon)

As Private Frazer wid hae said, "We're A' Doomed!"

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Nimbys

Once again a well organized group of nature lovers manage to prevent a major investment in economic development and green zero-carbon energy. Was that old git Bellamy involved in this one?

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Can we please just pull out of Scotland?

The scots are fiercely nationalistic and refuse to be involved with things that benefit the Union yet cost the rest of the Union a fortune in healthcare etc.

Let's cut them loose. When they have to pay their own health bills they might start considering some of their potenial revenue streams a little more carefully.

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Alert

No problem talking out of both sides of mouth?

So government is both in favour and against the use of wind power. Seems about right for our current toy land parliaments.

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I want to know...

What they do want... Or do they want wind, but they are Niby's?

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Stop

We've got to get serious about wind power

... or we might just as well give in to the corporate greed and mad hot waste of Nuclear.

This means that some of the wildest, most beautiful parts of the UK are going to have to have dirty great wind farms on them. If the environmental lobby objects, then that proves that its not really trying to save the planet, just the view.

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Grrrrr

The Scottish Government are applling. I understand the impact that these sites may cause, but I think their pros outweigh the cons.

As has been said above, all the things they are trying to protect by stopping these farms being built will get destroyed, if their predictions come true anyway......

I get the impression the Scottish Gov just want to do the popular thing, with no thinking behind it at all. Trump resort anyone?

And just to add, I'm Scottish, and I didn't vote for those retards.

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Unhappy

Whats with the world (Black eyed peas)

5000 people signed in a petition saying they don't want the wind farm in place. Is it possible if 10000 people sign a petition saying they want the windfarm in place. would that have any effect or would the parliament take into account only those who are against any proposal.

Might be good for the parliament to open up a section on their website allowing the public to vote on proposals (for and against). this might be better than some idiots who make all the decisions and some activists who influence even good proposals.

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Response to Anonymous Coward

Yet again another Scottish Executive triumph of Ideology over common sense.

You got in with it before I did, AC.

No nuclear, no wind power...... What will we burn, apart from our bridges with the rest of the UK, and just about any other nation that is making economic progress.

Doesn't it make you wonder why I dread the prospect of a 'Nationalist' Scotland'. It's all about ideology, and the votes of folk who have watched Braveheart, and forgot it was a movie.

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Stop

No smoke != No fire

Why is it that we've allowed ourselves to think that anything that doesn't produce smoke is automatically environmentally friendly?

For example:

Ariel washing powder has been selling itself as environmentally friendly because washing at 30 degrees creates less carbon dioxide. Never mind the fact that biological washing powders (such as Ariel) are known to damage rivers.

The electric car is widely believed to be "environmentally friendly" because it has no emissions. NO! The electric car is good for human health because it produces no emissions *in a built up area*, but it causes *more* emissions during electricity generation than a petrol car does during operation. The electric car is good for people, but *bad for the environment*.

Man-made global warming theory may well be true, but even if it is, there's no reason to stop thinking about other aspects of good environmental management.

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Good stuff!

Excellent decision by the Scottish Government. It's good to see someone showing a bit of backbone and standing up to hysterical enviromentalists who advocate building completely utterly useless windmills.

Shame they don't approve of nuclear power but having said that, Scotland has a fair few hydro projects and is upgrading coal power stations to reduce the amount of pollution produced.

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@Not so green

So when improvements in efficiency in design mean that you can have fewer wind farms, the worst case is you are left with a lump of concrete..

Sounds terrible compared to a nuclear power station, gas station, oil station etc. etc.

Look at the number of WW2 sites that are full of concrete but are now wildlife sanctuaries!

I find wind farms fairly pretty to look at compared to the above, but then maybe I'm strange ;)

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after Ian Roger's "not so green" comments

S'true, when you take into consideration the many different raw materials used to construct a wind turbine, the energy used to combine them, the fuel used shift it to site, the projected (lack of) efficiency figures ... and the projection for expected working life ... they don't pay for themselves. Mind you, they are a darned sight prettier than Cooling Towers and much easier to safely dismantle than Unclear Power Stations.

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Build it near me.

I think they look pretty cool.

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Pirate

Root cause analysis ...

Is not that there is not enough energy -

It's just that there are too many consumers.

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what damage? ...it won't matter come the next ice age!

A few birds, some grass... what do these people think they're protecting? Come the next ice age the land will probably be scraped clean again.

And if we don't get our carbon emissions down considerably, the effect on the whole country (and it's wildlife) will be more dramatic that a few handsomely sculpted turbines.

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The solution.

Give them an option:

1) Wind Farm

2) Nuclear power plant

3) Gas, Oil or Coal power plant.

To be fair they have a point, putting all the electricity generation in rural areas when the vast majority of the electricity is consumed in cities south of the border, and wind farms don't really provide many jobs once they are constructed.

Same goes for tidal schemes and whiny fishermen, overall picture, the energy is more useful than the fish they produce anyway, and fish tend to like obstacles, it gives them somewhere to hide from fishermen ;)

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If you object......

We need power stations, and if wind power is viable (I am not fully decided on the pro's/cons/costs of wind power myself yet) then they need building somewhere. No one wants thing built in their own backyard, but they have to go somewhere so you are always going to upset someone.

Maybe you should give them the choice. Do you want a wind farm or a nuclear power station?

Maybe people who petition power stations should have their electricity disconnected? If you don't want them to be able to produce electricity then you shouldn't be able to use electricity.

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Nice to see...

... - at least someone still cares for the environment.

How can anyone think these white ugly bird-chopping mostrosities are good for the planet?

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Good decision.

The Scottish Government got it right here.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy in the Scottish highlands, so there has to be a compromise here. Not every giant windfarm is going to get passed - especially in some of the most sensitive or scenic areas.

You also have to consider the miles of extra pylons around each development.

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Anonymous Coward

So greenpeace will join the fight to get renewables?

So presumably all the greens that have been arguing for renewables will pile in and promote these wind farms?

We need tens of thousands of these turbines simply to make a fraction of our electricity. Nimbyism won't work now, we need them here there and everywhere. On every hill and right around the windy parts of the coast.

Wind turbines and tidal are the only two renewables that are even plausibly going to add some power.

And if we don't act your wetlands will be long gone, and the climate shift means the birds will have gone with it.

This is nuts. They should rethink.

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Long term

These things are a short to medium term measure - when they've outlived their usefulness you can just unbolt them from their foundations and take them away. A little bit of landscaping and there's nothing to be seen. Likewise the much-hated proposed Beauly to Denny pylons.

...c.f. a four-reactor nuclear power station? Can't we see past the short-term NIMBYism?

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re Simon Painter's comments

Considering the billions of oil money England siphoned off from Scotland, the least you can do is pay for a bit of healthcare.

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Anonymous Coward

It was never ever going to happen...

I lived up there once upon a time and there are three basic problems :

1) No interconnector to the mainland - unlike Orkney/Shetland where the council identified this as a problem and began funding their own, Comhairle Nan Eilan Siar are too clueless to plan ahead;

2) Its too windy for the turbines to operate for most of the winter - and indeed for autumn/early spring. Winds of course are predicted to increase as atmospheric temperatures increase;

3) Its going to be built on peatlands. Now I bet none of you have the first clue what that entails (like the developers but they don't care as this is "pork barrel" funding). I suggest you go google for problems associated with building on peatland - you could also take a look at WHERE building has already taken place on Lewis and ask yourselves why? Here's a clue - a road in Harris was upgraded to dual track a few years back and it required excavating to a depth of over 30 metres to prevent subsidence. It still collapsed twice!

IF (and its a big if) the council up there was interested in anything other than their own pockets they would have dumped this stupid plan a decade ago. Its a complete no-brainer - USE TIDAL POWER!

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english nimbys

Scotland already exports power and doesnt need more. Cabling power from Lewis is insane - the only reason is to make money for the generating company. Surely the answer is to build a nuclear power station in London. If you really want windfarms they can be floated offshore.

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Windmills are for those not serious about Carbon.

Our carbon emmissions could be virtually eliminated in 20 years.

But that takes nuclear as an interim solution until we further improve geothermal power systems (deep well -- drill wells 4-5 miles deep to tap the heat). It takes cars that can plug in and recharge overnight, it takes power to make hydrogen to run them after that.

Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of windmills around the U.K. -- yes, that's what it would take -- are a very poor option. Serious impact on the ecology, massive visual pollution. I honestly don't think many proponents even have an idea how many windmills it would take to eliminate carbon burning. Hydropower is even worse on it's impact on flowing rivers.

Getting off carbon can be a huge win / win / win for domestic economy, national security, and global environmental concerns for all the western nations. But rather then see the benefits and pick the engineering option to get us there the fastest we all end up pissing in each other's cheerios not on issues but dogma.

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Ice Age

During the last ice age, Britain was uninhabitable pretty much from Nottingham and up. Come the next ice age problem solved.

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Anonymous Coward

@Sense from Scotland

"a beautiful area of moorland" Yer what? A midge infested bog, more like, with about .01 species per square mile. Actually, probably quite a good place for some totally inert and harmless nuclear waste.

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Unhappy

Wind Farms

I'm surprised at the general running of wind farms. I live in the North East and it's been blowing gales of anything upto 70MPH.

I drove past 2 small(ish) wind farms - one with 3 turbines and another with 7. None of the 10 turbines were actually spinning - even though (looking at the trees) the wind was pretty strong. Bit pointless really.

I'd personally like to see them running well. I'd love to see the response also if they were to be placed in places like Hampshire/Surrey.

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Charge for it

Would it have made a difference if the Scots were allowed to sell the electricity generated to the evil English?

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Hysteria

"I have this theory, I would rather be alive (human kind, future generations etc...) and have to see some ugly windmills for a few years until they figure alternative energies, than dead, fighting for drinking water, being a refugee or fighting a war due to the disasters global warming may cause."

Thank you oh Thank you. That's one of the funniest things I've read in a very, very long time. Such a perfect example of the brainless hysteria driving much of the environmental 'cause'.

My fear for the future? That we'll all be living with decisions made by hysterics.

Where's the Chicken Little Icon?

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Black Helicopters

A mighty wind...

Perhaps all those whinging about the opposition of the Scots Government would like 181 windfarms in their back garden. Oh no that wouldn't be good... lets blight a beautiful part of the world so you can continue to use standby buttons and all the other crap you keep buying for no other reason than satisfying your empty lives.

What we need to do is start to push energy conservancy and efficiency. Lets re-design the carbon credit scheme to be geared toward innovation rather than tired technologies that can't deliver when the South East turn on to coronation street. Or lets just become religious and convince god to send forth a mighty wind at 7pm every night.

(A spider cos some of the corrie loving, city living folk may be afraid... very afraid....lol)

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Stop

Superquarry Repeat

Councilors on Harris originally agreed for Redland Aggregates (latterly Lafarge) to remove the highest lump of gravel on the Isle, Roineabhal, in the name of a quick buck.

I agree that this looks like "Pork Barrel" funding to me.

Another one was the Scalpay Bridge, 320 residents got a wonderful bridge, 1 ferryman lost his job, population decline since, economic progress!!!

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Paris Hilton

But

Butt since time immemorial the remote islands of Scotland have always done their own thing independent of central government anyway so it becomes whom is giving the finger to who ?

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We already do Mr. Bond

We sell power to the English already, we produce more than we use and export it

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Anonymous Coward

A Solution to the NIMBY crisis of the new millenium

Now your standard NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) likes the idea of stuff but doesn't want said stuff in their back yard. In Scotland, land of the Government hand outs and high public sector work force, we need to tackle this problem in a manor they are likely to approve.

I therefore suggest that we institute a Scottish Government work scheme in which we build giant underground treadmills and pay people to walk. We can fuel them with deep fried Mars Bars which will reduce pension costs, provide full employment, do our bit for the earth and not spoil anyone's back yard. It will also keep them their incesant whining muffled.

Of course i these underground treadmills better not be built near me i don't want any subsidence issues!

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Happy

Windmills are beautiful

Big 1 MW mills look so powerfull and majestetic when they roll ! I like them really.... No wonder why birds smash into them, fallen in love..... 8)

Big mills are so clean and bright and they bring me the feeling of future here and now. It really brings me hope to see the big blades hum.

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Paris Hilton

Sad thing is...

There was an alternative. Pelamis. Built at Arnish (Stornoway) too. Where is it now?

Ermmm Orkney.

Now why would this be? Why would the Comhairle let something with SO much potential go to another island?

Oh yes it'd be because :

a) they're clueless idiots;

b) they believed Amec/British Energy when they spun them a line about building all the turbines at Arnish;

c) did I mention the clueless bit?

Pelamis would have provided more long-term jobs which didn't just involve routine maintenance that a monkey could do, but it WOULDN'T have provided the Comhairle with a nice little earner like the wind farm would.

Oh and initially the vast majority of the people on Lewis were in favour of the wind farm. Then they saw it wouldn't bring any significant number of long-term jobs (32 was the figure I saw); it wouldn't benefit the communities where it was being built and it would utterly destroy what little tourism there is. The comhairle (like all politicians) of course don't accept that people ARE against it and think they know best.

I did mention the clueless bit didn't I?

Paris for obvious reasons......

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Hands up who's seen a windfarm.

Who's actually seen a windfarm - say from 10 miles away? Who's seen one from a couple miles away? Who's stood next to one of these windmills?

They're not perfect in every way, it's true. But I swear they're no jab in the eye like so many people seem to think. (Maybe a trip to a windfarm would show most people.) They also don't tempt the production of nuclear bombs or fund the production of roadside or chest-pack bombs while they're operating.

I think the smart folk would be begging for windmills if they can get and use them. Unless the plan is "don't care how the leccy is produced, as long as it isn't produced 'round here."

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Anonymous Coward

Scotland already exports CO2 too

"Scotland already exports power and doesnt need more. "

You kind of miss the point, it exports CO2 too, lots of it, and the whole 20/20/20 is to reduce the amount we all export. Scotland included.

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Things of beauty

Shame the Scots don't want them. I see the 2MW turbine at Reading every day, and I think it looks amazing,, majestic even - an engineering marvel. Having stood under the thing I cannot say what its sounds like as you cannot hear it over the M4 noise. How about taking those 100 turbines they don't want and putting them along the motorways and business parks in the south of England. IMHO they wouldn't blight the landscape anymore than all the pylons, etc we already have. They'd be prettier than Didcot power station that's for sure.

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Beauty isn't the point

Dave, I've never seen the (allegedly) 2Mw turbine at Reading, but given how little wind blows in the South of England, I would guess it never produces 2Mw and doesn't even come near that for at least 75% of the time. In other words, amazing and majestic it may be, possibly even an engineering marvel, but considered functionally, it's an expensive and pointless piece of gesture politics.

As for the Lewis windfarm, well the wind is a little more prevalent there, but sometimes it blows not at all, and sometimes it blows too strongly (yes, that too is a problem for wind generators), and never ever does it blow predictably and manageably.

This has two consequences - first, you have to keep standby generation of equivalent capacity in an almost-ready state all the time, which pretty much negates the emissions gains, and second it destabilises the power grid, which becomes unmanageable once intermittent and unpredictable generation like wind exceeds about 10% of the installed capacity.

The Scottish Executive has done the right thing this time, though probably for all the wrong reasons.

Scotland currently gets about 40% of its power from its two operating nuclear stations (Hunterston and Torness). Once these go off-stream around 2015 our choices will be (a) build more nuclear or (b) depend on imported Russian gas (like THAT's a good idea - ask the Ukrainians) or (c) import power from our more sensible Southern neighbours in England and/or France or (d) let the lights go out.

Wind is not going to hack it, and it is not worth destroying our finest landscapes in pursuit of a chimera.

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