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Hebrides News


Shadow Scottish Secretary, Lesley Laird,  has urged the UK government to bring forward plans to build the proposed subsea cable between Lewis and the mainland.


Ms Laird maintained the Conservative Party’s manifesto committed the party to building the interconnector to export wind farm generated electricity from the Western Isles to mainland markets, but without a specific date.


In reality, the Tories did not mention the subsea cable but said it would support island wind projects which directly benefit island communities.


Lesley Laird argues the Conservative government should begin the construction process for the subsea link immediately given the” widespread agreement” on the proposal.


She also believes the Contract for Difference regime, which subsidises renewable energy production, should have a third category for ‘island wind’ - a proposal the UK government mooted after the election.


UK Energy Minister Richard Harrington intends to launch two parallel consultations around "Remote Island Wind" and how projects can deliver benefits to the Western Isles.


This would allow energy producers on the islands to effectively compete with those on the mainland.


Lesley Laird, said the link would bring “huge economic and environmental benefits” to the Western Isles, with “independent experts estimating it would add over £400 million to the local economy.”


She added: “When Jeremy Corbyn visited the island last month, he announced that Labour would rural-proof all policies, ensuring that no community is left behind under a Labour government.


“It is vital that the Tories stick to their manifesto commitment, and they must begin construction of the interconnector as soon as possible.”


Scottish Labour’s rural affairs spokesperson Rhoda Grant said: “As anybody living on the Western Isles is aware, the interconnector has long been discussed but repeatedly failed to materialise.


“The Western Isles has enormous potential for renewable energy production, particularly with wind power. But in order to achieve its full potential, the island must have an interconnector with the mainland.


“The Tories committed in the manifesto to funding its construction, so now must begin that process. Otherwise, local people will be rightly sceptical about the project ever beginning.”


Labour calls for subsea cable works to get underway

18 Sept 2017