I read with some dismay your recent article on the opening of the Lewis Wind Power
(LWP) office in Stornoway and the suggested benefits that this may bring to the community.
It only takes very basic mathematic ability to calculate that this is a very, very
bad deal for the community. Example being that the three turbine (9MW scheme) operated
by the Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) delivers a reported £500,000 per annum in community
benefits. The much larger proposed Stornoway, 36 turbines (180MW scheme), is touted
to deliver only £900,000 per annum in community benefits. The comparison is an obvious
stark difference in what actually could be realised. Similarly the six turbine (13.8MW)
Pentland Road scheme, which is located on Stornoway Trust land delivers ??? in community
Given that Stornoway Trust appears not to issue out an annual summary report, hold
an annual AGM or have had a website in existence for two years, how do we as residents
of the community know what is being negotiated, or has been negotiated away by the
appointed trustees on our behalf ?
The lack of transparency on this huge and critical issue is breathtaking in the extreme.
Specifically how the trust have signed over the development rights on crofting grazing
rights within common grazing land to a conglomerate, without any meaningfull discussion
between the grazing committees, or indeed the local populace within the Stornoway
It is reported that the Stornoway Trust have an option to take up 20% of the completed
development but there is absolutely no guarantee that this finance can be put in
place, or agreed upon, to realise this additional revenue or benefit for the community.
The use of the land for development will ultimately be settled through the Scottish
Land Court for final permission.
If you contrast the developments planned for the Isle of Lewis with the Shetlands
Islands’ Viking project, then the contrast is huge. Similar sized developments are
planned on both island groups, yet the Shetland community has agreed a 50/50 split
with the developer SSE. This will reportedly earn the Shetland community, more than
they have previously realised from all the oil related activity that has brought
such huge economic benefit to that island group in the past forty years.
CNES and the Stornoway Trust should be negotiating for a similar deal to that negotiated
by the Shetland community, rather than the crumbs from the table that have been offered
up to date and to deliver some true and realistic community benefit.
There are suggestions that the construction phase of the project will bring at peak
phase up to 600 jobs over the 2-3 year anticipated project timeline. However, as
was seen during the new schools build project, this will not necessary translate
into a large amount of local jobs but there would be the expectation of +/- 30 maintenance
jobs, post construction phase.
Tourism has been one of the main growth Industries in these Islands in recent years,
with expectations that this will continue on an upward trend. However, will effectively
an island group that is a floating wind turbine be such an appealing destination
for tourists in future years to come?
Brexit is quoted as being the singularly biggest event for the UK since the second
World War. Similarly, these planned wind turbine developments are the biggest (possibly)
event that these islands will have seen, or have foisted upon them.
These islands need to receive the proper entitled economic benefit to create real
economic growth for what is possibly the last serious chance to reverse the endemic
population decline both current and predicted. This will help to retain our young
people and families, while also attracting a new influx of economically active people
to the islands. These developments and issues are HUGE and all our elected representatives
be they from CNES, the Stornoway Trust and our parliamentary representatives, along
with the community need to pull together to secure the best deal and future for the
I would urge anyone who can see the negatives in these proposals, to contact your
elected councillor and parliamentary representatives and make your concerns known.
Our elected representatives need to show vision, leadership, accountability and
transparency, so that proper and long term community benefit can be realised from