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Watchdog seeks island turbine cuts

SNH calls for 50% reduction at Muaitheabhal 2 to safeguard eagles

Watchdog seeks island turbine cuts image

The proposed South Muaitheabhal wind farm extension on Lewis can be accommodated if half of its 12 turbines are removed, according to Scottish Natural Heritage.

The watchdog said a six-turbine plan would meet Scottish planning policy requirements "to demonstrate the proposal would not significantly and adversely affect designated areas, wild land or protected species".

Development in the Pairc area in the south of Lewis is being driven by a company with links to the Eishken Estate, which was responsible for successful sanction and eventual sale to GDF of the 140MW first phase.

Full plans for 12 turbines of up to 150 metres at the extension would according to SNH impact white-tailed eagles and golden eagles as well as the South Lewis, Harris and North Uist national scenic area.

SNH said six turbines, taken in conjunction with existing and consented wind farms in the area, are unlikely to threaten overall populations of the two species.

Director of operations Andrew Bachell said: “Due to the likely impact of the 12-turbine proposal we have advised that turbines numbered one to six and their associated infrastructure, including the proposed substation near turbine six, be removed. This would reduce the impacts sufficiently that we would not object to the proposal.”

Image: SNH listed impacts including on golden eagles from the full wind farm (USFWS)

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