* Posts by Gavin Woods

3 posts • joined 6 Feb 2008

Scottish Government scuppers Lewis wind farm plan

Gavin Woods


There would have been no quicker way to clear Lewis than build this wind farm. Higland clearences all over again. Remember we are an island it's not like we can drive down the road and get away from the bloody things (especially considering the other two proposals at Pairc and Eishken). Life here is hard but we put up with it because we love our cluture our island and it's people. Detsroy our island and there is not much point in us living here.

As for saving co2 this was perhaps one of the most un green renewable projects ever. Designed to export electricity to S England a significant proportion of the generated elec would have been llost in transmission. Add to that loss of Co2 through drying and draining of peat and co2 emitted during construction you begin to ask yourself which idiot thought of this in the first place.

Out of interest I heard recently that the water table is so deep in some places foundations would have had to have been between 14ft-20ft deep. So calculate the 400m circle loss of co2 using those figures and there would be a net loss of co2 if the project had gone ahead. As Jim Mather said ' some renewable projects are put forward for the wrong places' I would add to that 'and for the wrong reasons'. It doesn't mean we can't have them but some places are better than others see RSPB map of places to avoid and put them somewhere else.

Scottish Government to block wind farm plan

Gavin Woods

As for the Barvas Moor

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yes the Barvas Moor is a wild untamed place that many actually enjoy for that very same reason. As a consequence of it's remoteness large populations of protected spieces live on the Barvas Moor hence it's Natura 2000 designation. I have often seen Golden Eagles out hunting their patch. While fishermen from all over the world come to enjoy the peace and tranquility that can only rarely be found elswhere in the U.K. The bohans as you call them are 'sheilings' once used by shepherds and now mainly used by fishermen and the occasional peat cutter. Over the last twenty years most of the rowdy drunkeness has not come from the sheilings but from Stornoway. It has been caused by visiting labourers brought here for various ill fated industrial projects that attempt to bring heavy industry to an island 42 miles off the West Coast of Scotland.

Living on a remote Scottish Island is hard. Often due to inclement weather the ferry doesn't run and the supermarkets have little or nothing to sell. So many grow their own in rather unfavourable conditions. So why do we live here? We love our island, it's intense beauty and our way of life. If you want to save the planet don't use as much electricity and stop running around in your 4 by 4's. Maybe if we see you closing airports instead of building new runways we might be more inclined to ruin our island but until then keep your hands off our way of life. You ruined it once before clearing the highlands for rich landlords to graze their sheep we won't let you clear them again so you can fill them with wind turbines.

Gavin Woods
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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.


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