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The four crofting townships of Sandwick North Street, Melbost and Brananhuie, Sandwick East Street, and Aignish on the Isle of Lewis have issued a joint statement in response to the Crofting Commission’s decision to refuse their Section 50B applications to develop community-owned wind farms on their common grazings.
Rhoda Mackenzie, spokesperson for the four townships, said the decision had come as no surprise to them.
‘It is over two years since we submitted our application and the commission are clearly no longer fit for purpose, as everybody knows following the grazings committee debacle,’ she said.
‘We have already prepared and will now be submitting an appeal to the Land Court against this decision.
‘The only interesting thing about the commission’s decision is that they rejected all of the landowner’s objects except one… and that is that the landowner wants the Stornoway Wind Farm to go ahead, rather than the four community projects.
‘We have always made clear that the four projects will directly replace 21 of the Stornoway Wind Farm turbines but that still leaves 17 turbines for EDF.
‘There is no reason, therefore, why the community turbines on our four grazings cannot be developed in tandem with the 17 turbines elsewhere.
‘That would be much more beneficial to the community, produce much more money going back into the local economy and would not be in any way detrimental to the Stornoway Trust.
‘This has been anticipated from the outset and we had always intended to take this to the Land Court and for it to be heard amongst our objections to EDF’s Section 19 applications.’
The four townships made their applications under Section 50B of the 1993 Crofting Act.