Petition calls for SSE station re-think

An on-line petition has been launched by Stornoway Historical Society calling for a re-think by SSE Networks on the siting of a HVDC converter station on the outskirts of Stornoway.
The layout of the proposed converter station in relation to the main Stornoway-Tarbert road.The layout of the proposed converter station in relation to the main Stornoway-Tarbert road.
The layout of the proposed converter station in relation to the main Stornoway-Tarbert road.

From the Society’s perspective, the main issue is that the building would cover the site of the 19th century Lewis Chemical Works, regarded as a site of industrial archaeological importance.

However, opposition has also come from Marybank and Maryhill Community Association and from Stornoway Angling Association, citing a threat to salmon and sea trout on the River Creed. The planning committee of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has expressed opposition.

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In response, SSE insists nothing has been settled. In a statement to the Gazette this week they repeated that they are “continuing to evaluate all options and consider the valuable feedback received from the local community groups, local residents, the Stornoway Trust and council representatives”.

The statement added: “We remain fully committed to engaging constructively with all stakeholders as we develop this project and would like to thank all those who have kindly taken their time to provide their feedback so far.”

Like other objectors, the Historical Society has made clear that it is not opposed to the principle of the project, only the location. The petition states: “It is accepted that this structure is an essential component of the project to connect local on- and off-shore wind farms to the proposed subsea cable which will export the energy to mainland Scotland”.

It continues: “Public consultation took place some considerable time ago, the outcome being preference by SSEN for a site named as Creed North, located in close proximity to residences of Marybank community, to the River Creed and right on top of the site of the Lewis Chemical Works, an important part of the history and heritage of Stornoway.

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“The massive planned structure will be equal to three times the area of the Western Isles Hospital site, with height equivalent to that of the Lewis War Memorial. It is important that the historical assets of our area are protected so that they may be studied, appreciated and enjoyed by present and future generations.

“Local historians therefore seek your support in encouraging SSEN to find an alternative location for their HVDC converter station and sub-station”.

The petition quickly accumulated over 150 signatures. One of its supporters, David Crabbe, who has written extensively on the the subject, commented: “Years ago the LCW was the subject of some extensive academic research on my part. Anywhere else in the UK it would be far more widely known about and appreciated for what it is, the high water mark for peat distillation in the British Isles.

“The LCW proved to be much more successful than other far better financed and resourced schemes such as those in Ireland and the SW of England. I am a huge supporter of the exploitation of wind energy in Scotland and beyond but the forever loss of this quite unique historical site is totally unnecessary”.

The petition can be found at