Three crofting townships in the Outer Hebrides are making a plea to their local MP to support their community development aspirations as they battle with power giant EDF over the right to develop wind turbines.
The Western Isles host a number of community-owned wind farms, including the UK’s biggest operated by the Point and Sandwick Trust outside Stornoway, which return £1 million a year profit back into the local communities.
The aim of the three townships plan is to develop similar community schemes on their common grazings. However, they have found themselves being opposed by utility company, EDF, who claim that their subsidiary company (Lewis Windpower Ltd) has a 70 year lease from the local landowner which gives them the exclusive right to develop wind turbines on the crofter’s grazings.
The townships have now decided to take their case to the Scottish Land Court.
The townships have also written to the local SNP MP, Angus MacNeil, asking for his support and asking him to arrange a meeting with the UK Energy Minister, Richard Harrington MP, to press their case. In the letter to the MP they set out their case, concluding with: “We ask you as our MP to commit your support to our shareholders in exercising their rights to develop their community turbines on their own common grazings and to join us in opposing any attempt to impose corporate turbines on our grazings without the consent of the shareholders.”