Green Policy in Chaos as SNP Pulls Plug on Island's Wind Farm; an Ill Wind: The Wild Barvas Moor on the Island of Lewis Where 181 Turbines Were Planned

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Byline: Stuart Nicolson

SCOTLAND'S green energy revolution stalled dramatically yesterday asplans for Europe's largest onshore wind farm were thrown out.

Holyrood ministers rejected the controversial proposals for almost 200 giantwind turbines on moorland in the Isle of Lewis.

They decided the development could not go ahead because of European rulesprotecting bird life and rare wildlife habitats in the earmarked area of theWestern Isles.

But business chiefs accused ministers of 'playing fast and loose' with energysupplies, claiming their stance risked the 'lights going out' across Scotland.

The SNP has made the expansion of renewable energy such as wave and wind powera key policy.

It claims such green energy projects can replace nuclear power stations and theparty is implacably opposed to new atomic facilities.

Many of the proposed renewable energy projects have been strangled by red tapeand are stuck in the planning system. Yesterday's decision sparked claims thatthe SNP's green energy policy was 'in meltdown'.

The local council and many Lewis businesses had been in favour of the plans for181 wind turbines on the Barvas moor area.

The project's backers claimed the scheme would have created about 400 jobs. Butthere were almost 11,000 objections compared with only 98 letters of support.

Developer Lewis Wind Power said it was 'bitterly disappointed' by the decision.And the Scottish Chambers of Commerce also hit out at the refusal.

Chief Executive Liz Cameron said: 'We cannot afford for the Scottish governmentto play fast and loose with the security and reliability of our futureelectricity supplies and run the risk of the lights going out in Scotland.'Labour claimed that the decision showed the SNP's claims to be in favour ofgreen energy were not being backed up by its actions.

The party's energy spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: 'Alex Salmond likes to poseas a great supporter of renewable energy but he is nowhere to be seen when itcomes to the tough decisions. …