RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have withdrawn objections to plans for a major wind farm on the Western Isles. It follows the developers’ decision to reduce the number of turbines for the Stornoway Wind Farm from 42 to 36.
Lewis Wind Power, a joint venture involving Amec, EDF Energy and the Stornoway Trust, is behind the project. Amec was previously involved in a bid for a 181-turbine wind farm on Lewis, which was refused permission in 2008.
RSPB Scotland had concerns that a new 42-turbine project would threaten golden eagle and red throated diver habitats.
SNH had similar worries and warned the scheme would impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area.
Their objections have been withdrawn following Lewis Wind Power’s decision to scale down the plans.
Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said the smaller wind farm was an improvement, but added that the charity still had concerns. He said: “The challenge now is to ensure that the construction and operational impacts are minimised, and that the development is thoroughly
monitored, so that any eagle displacement or collision is discovered, and urgent remedial action taken. “We look forward to working with the developer and our partners in the statutory sector in order to help achieve this.”
RSPB Scotland remains opposed to plans to expand a proposed 39-turbine development on Eisgein Estate on Lewis by 30 turbines.
The area has one of the highest densities of golden eagles in Europe. (BUT FOR HOW LONG?)
Estate owner Nick Oppenheim said the extension would secure 150 jobs.
The North West Raptor Group strongly suspects that this development will bring about the beginning of the end of golden eagles in this important region of Scotland. It would appear windfarm development in Scotland is now regarded as far more important than the security of iconic wildlife species like the golden eagle which depend on such vital habitats for their very survival.