Plans for onshore windfarm in Western Isles fails to get approval under EC law on protected habitat

A proposal for one of Britain’s biggest onshore wind farms has been scrapped to protect rare birds.

Wind farm scrapped to protect rare birds
The Scottish government said it was unable to give its consent for a 181 turbine wind farm on the Isle of Lewis because the development would impact on Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area. The area is protected under European law due to the large number of rare and endangered bird species it plays home to.

Lewis Windpower, the consortium of Amec and British Energy behind the plan, issued a statement saying it was “bitterly disappointed by the Scottish government’s decision”.

It claimed the project could have been built without violating EC law and identified benefits including 650MW of renewable energy and the creation of 400 local jobs and 680 jobs across Scotland during the construction process.

Scottish energy minister Jim Mather said: “European legislation requires a specific procedure to be followed when proposals which could potentially affect Special Protection Areas come forward. I considered all the relevant issues and decided it would not be possible to approve the application.”

However, Mather added: “This decision does not mean that there can not be onshore wind farms in the Western Isles.” He added that thirteen projects had already been approved across the country and that the Scottish government was well on its way for meeting its target to generate 50 per cent of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Lewis Wind Power said it would consider the government’s response before deciding on it s next move.