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April 23, 2008

Wind power key to North Harris community’s future

This week, the Scottish Government decided not to approve what would have been Europe’s largest wind farm planned for the Isle of Lewis. Community owned wind farms are much more modest in scale, but their impact in terms of building long term community sustainability can be massive . North Harris Trust’s plans have received a huge boost this month from the recent BIG Lottery allocations

THE North Harris Trust (NHT) has been awarded £900,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to support the purchase of a community wind farm.
This marks a major step forward in the Trust’s plans to site a wind farm at Monan, on Harris.

Three 86 metre turbines will be erected on the site, and it is anticipated that the renewable energy project will result in a 1.8MW community owned wind development on North Harris, generating income averaging £180,000 each year over 12 years.

Calum Mackay, North Harris Trust Chairman, welcomed the grant.

He said: “The North Harris Trust is delighted that the Big Lottery Fund has awarded this generous grant towards its proposed community wind farm. This development will bring considerable benefit to the entire North Harris community in the years ahead.”

David Cameron, NHT Development Officer, explained the difference this funding will make.

He said: “Developing a community wind farm is similar to doing a jigsaw and the Big Lottery Fund contribution is a vital piece of the funding picture. We are therefore extremely pleased that the Trust has received this generous financial award from the Lottery. It is equally important to us that this award is acknowledgement that what the people of North Harris are trying to do, has strong support from outside the community.”

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan commented: “I am very pleased that the North Harris Trust have secured this funding for their community renewable energy project which will result in a 1.8MW community owned wind development on North Harris, and which will generate a significant source of income for the North Harris Trust and the local community.

“Hopefully this is one more initiative which will allow the North Harris Trust to invest in local projects to revitalise the area, and hopefully stabilise and grow the population.

“It is no secret that Harris is desperately in need of economic regeneration and I am delighted that the knock-on effects from this funding will allow investment in the local community to create new employment opportunities, develop initiatives to release land for affordable housing, promote tourism, environmental sustainability, and to help tackling the problems of fuel poverty.

“I would like to add my congratulations to all at the North Harris Trust who have worked so hard to secure this funding for the future of the island of Harris.”