Plans for a 181-turbine wind farm in Scotland have been rejected by Scottish politicians.
Proponents of the scheme claimed it would have generated 7% of Scotland’s energy – enough to meet the average needs of one million people.
And, they claimed, that the wind farm would bring £6m a year in local community benefits, a multi-million-pound leisure and sporting centre and created 400 jobs on the Isle of Lewis.
But strong opposition was mounted and campaigners opposed to the plan pointed out that the remote island scenery and wildlife would be devastated by 90 miles of road, 20 miles of overhead cables, 137 pylons, 18 miles of underground cables and five rock quarries.
The company behind the scheme, Lewis Wind Power, said it was “bitterly disappointed” by the decision.
“Over the six years of this project, we have conducted extensive environmental and economic studies and designed the development around these findings,” a statement read.
“As a result, we believe we had put forward a detailed case showing the benefits of our proposal and the benefits it would bring to Lewis, the Highlands and Islands region and to Scotland.”
“We will be considering the government’s response in detail before deciding on our next move.”
But Alasdair Allan MSP for the Western Isles defended the decision.
“This was one of the most controversial planning developments that Scotland has faced in recent times.
“I have long made clear my own view that the sheer scale and environmental impact of this project was such that it could not command the support of the communities most affected,” said Mr Allen
The island is home to nesting pairs of the golden eagle and RSPB Scotland welcomed the refusal of the planning application. “The government has made it clear on this issue that renewables must be developed but not at any price,” said society director Stewart Houston.