fat lot of use they would be anyway
By Gavin Woods
Posted Wednesday 6th February 2008 21:22 GMT
A few facts you might not know about the proposed windfarm on Lewis.
The farm was to be built on one of the largest areas of peat in europe. The peat bog is a natural, renewable carbon sink absorbing huge amounts of co2 from the atmosphere.
In order to build the wind farms millions of tonnes of peat would be removed for concrete foundations. This would release large amounts of stored co2 into the air.
The cement to make the foundations would give off huge amounts of co2 during the curing process. Over 350 lorry movements per day would also contribute to the co2 footprint of this huge development not to mention the co2 involved in manufacture. Several of the studies now published actually quote a negative saving of CO2, i.e a net production of co2 for this scheme.
None of the electricity would be used on Lewis instead it is proposed to ship it off island to South of England. In the process 25% would be lost due to heat loss.
The islanders were overwhelmingly against this scheme with 88% voting against in local referenda and 5000 of the 25000 population writing to the Scottish Goverment in protest. They are however overwhemlingly in favour of small local schemes to produce energy to be used on Lewis.
Before you accuse us of being nimby's remember Lewis is an island. The amec development plus the others proposed would leave a 40 mile trail of the largest wind turbines in Eurpoe stretching from the North of Island to the South. The island would be completely dominated by these enormous structures most of which were to be built near residents houses and not as often thought on bog miles from anywhere. Unlike mainlanders the island residents would have no easy way of taking a break or getting relief from these huge machines. It currently costs over £200 to take a car and family off island or £150 per person to fly. The worry is that large numbers of islanders would sell up and leave.
The work argument also holds little sway. The Western Isles as a whole has a little over 500 unemployed. Very few of these are the skilled workers required for the construction of the scheme. So most workers would be brought in from the mainland for the three years it would take to build. Boom and bust?
Lewis has a fledgling tourist economy which is now growing at a healthy 7% per year. This is fed by our remotness, isolation and unspoilt beauty. Our tourism industry, fast becoming the lifeblood of our island, would be decimated and the compensation would be minimal. There is no good argument yet put forward for this scheme and as the Scottish Goverment said in it's letter to AMEC 'there are other more appropriate areas to build this project in Scotland." Lewis, a natural carbon sink, and the jewel in the crown of Scotlands Natural Heritage is definately not one of them.