PLANS for a controversial mega-wind farm on the Isle of Lewis have been dropped following fears that golden eagles and other birds of prey would be killed by massive turbine blades.
The decision by Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) to scrap its 26-turbine, 94-megawatt development at the Pairc Estate on the island was welcomed by RSPB Scotland.
The charity had predicted that up to 22 golden eagles, Scotland’s national bird of prey, could collide with the wind farm turbines over 25 years.
It also warned of the potential harm to other sensitive species, including white-tailed eagles, merlins, the black-throated diver, golden plover and dunlin.
SSE determined that, following environmental assessments and consultation with stakeholders, the project was no longer environmentally feasible, with a likelihood of birds striking the turbine blades.
David Gardner, SSE’s director of onshore renewables, said: “We are strongly committed to developing onshore wind farms, but as a responsible developer, we will only do so if the proposals are environmentally sustainable. Our studies show that for the size of development we were proposing at Pairc, this would not have been the case, so we do not plan to progress any further.”
However, he added: “We do feel there is scope for a smaller development that could greatly benefit the local community.”
Aedan Smith, RSPB Scotland’s head of planning and development, said: “This is very welcome news from SSE. We have been concerned about this proposal for a number of years.