No doubt the naysayers will gloat and crow over their part in blocking this development but this is bad economic news for the islands both now and in the future. Even though Jim Mather says this:
This decision does not mean that there cannot be onshore wind farms in the Western Isles. I strongly believe the vast renewables potential needs to be exploited to ensure that the opportunities and benefits of new development can be shared across the country in an equitable fashion.
I don’t think he believes that at all otherwise he would have sought a more positive outcome over this matter rather than an outright rejection. I also believe that in this case “equitable” has nothing to do with sharing any benefits from renewable developments across the country. I reckon it’s more about equally sharing the benefits in those areas most likely to count at the ballot box when it comes to ensuring a second term in office for the SNP. I don’t believe the Western Isles are seen as a major contributor in that regard.
I also think that citing European law as the sole reason for refusal (despite being a pretty typical cop-out – “It wasn’t us, it was Europe!”) sets a precedent that will lead to just about any future proposal being blocked for the same reason: “Sorry, you can’t use wave-power because Europe says it will traumatise the fish.” or “Bio-fuel? Nope, don’t think so. Europe says that’s bad for the sheep.”
That’s why we will urgently carry out work on how to develop renewable energy in the Western Isles, in harmony with its outstanding natural heritage. This work will result in an action plan for sustainable development on the islands and will be ready in the autumn.
I’ll be very interested to see what any such action plan contains. We’ve heard successive governments prattle on about “sustainable development” for year after year after year. Not one has come up with anything that has proved to be sustainable in anything other than the short term – i.e. for as long as the pot of money they have available to throw at the problem lasts.
Ah, well, back to the world of dreams…