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I am writing on behalf of the following four Grazings Committees: Melbost & Branahuie, Sandwick East Street & Lower Sandwick, Sandwick North Street and Aignish who are currently trying to build 21 community turbines on their common grazings rather than the 21 turbines proposed by EDF as part of their Lewis Windpower plans.


We would like to invite you to meet with us as individual candidates or as groups of candidates, whichever it convenient to you, at whatever time is convenient to you, to put the case for our community turbines.


In particular, we would like to correct some misconception which the existing Stornoway Trust appears to hold about our proposed community turbines.


First, the community's 21 turbines are no threat to the interconnector which we all want to see. In fact we believe they would enhance the case in the eyes of the government and we would be happy to work with EDF and the Stornoway Trust on that basis in supporting the case.


Second, success for our cause in the forthcoming case in the Land Court will still leave EDF with 60 turbines to develop on Lewis. We believe that this ought to be enough to satisfy any corporate developer. For EDF to demand to have 21 turbines on our common grazings on top of these 60 is a textbook case of corporate greed which the Stornoway Trust should not be supporting.


Third, we believe that it is morally wrong for the Stornoway Trust, as landowner, to try and force the EDF turbines on our grazings against the will of our crofting shareholders. This is a principle which is so at the heart of the ethos of community ownership that it is baffling that the Stornoway Trust is ignoring it and willing to risk its finances and its reputation in the Land Court in opposition to the communities and in support of EDF.


Finally, the reason we are taking this fight to the Land Court is to ensure that the benefit from any turbines on our grazings goes to the whole community of our islands, as has been demonstrated by the work of the Point and Sandwick Trust.


Their three turbines at Beinn Ghrideag are already delivering more than EDF are offering from their whole wind farm. This is because a community turbine is many times more beneficial than a corporate turbine in terms of income put back into the community.


It means that whereas 21 EDF turbines would pay £525,000 a year in community benefit, our 21 community turbines would pay at least £5.2 million a year.


In terms of jobs, it means that whereas the income from 21 EDF turbines could create 15 FTE, the income from our 21 community turbines could create at least 150 FTE – and more if the income is used to lever in additional project funding.


We would be very pleased to discuss all this in more detail with you if you wish to get in touch.



Willie Macfarlane

Melbost and Branahuie Grazings Committee

24 Branahuie



Letter: Open letter to Stornoway Trust election candidates

22 March 2018