Local News for Friday 31st May 2019

LEWIS WIND POWER SUBMITS APPLICATION FOR ADDITIONAL CONSENT FOR STORNOWAY WIND FARM

Lewis Wind Power (LWP) has submitted an application for an additional planning consent for the company’s proposed Stornoway Wind Farm.
The submission follows two rounds of community consultation on the company’s proposals, with public exhibitions at Stornoway Town Hall in October 2018 and February of this year.

The potential changes are designed to give the company the option of using the very latest onshore wind turbines on the market, which the firm believes may be necessary to generate power at the cost required to compete for long-term contracts in a government-backed auction taking place later this year.
Contracts are awarded by National Grid on a competitive basis with onshore wind farms on Scotland’s ‘remote islands’ competing with major offshore wind developments in the North Sea.

The potential alternative design features 25 turbines with a tip height of up to 180 metres and 10 turbines with a tip height of up to 156m. This compares to a maximum of 36 turbines at up to 145 metres in the project’s existing consent. It is also proposed to increase the separation distance between a number of turbines in the eastern part of the site and the town of Stornoway.

The application documents are available to view online at www.lwp.scot and on the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit website. Hard copies will be available to view locally at LWP’s office in Stornoway, as well as the council offices and Stornoway Library.
The Scottish Government will now invite views from local residents and business and from bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage before making a decision.

Read more: Local News for Friday 31st May 2019

Local News for Thursday 30th May 2019

COMMUNITY SUPPORT & WIND FARM MONEY FOR 2nd HEBRIDEAN PRIDE

Final preparations are underway for this year’s Hebridean Pride, which takes place in Stornoway on Saturday (June 1st). More than 400 people took part in the first Hebridean Pride last year and organisers hope this year’s event will be just as successful.

The event has received support from local organisations and businesses on top of their Lottery grant, including £870 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust (P.S.T.)

The parade starts at 3pm from the Golf Club road in the castle grounds but the event will be congregating at The Hub from 2pm, for speeches and music. Anyone intending to join the parade is asked to be at The Hub by 2.15pm at the latest and will be directed to the start from there.

Hebridean Pride Committee chair Susanne Erbida said there were “so many costs that you don’t realise when you put an event on” and the community wind farm money had been “very helpful”.

Donald John MacSween, General Manager at P.S.T. said: “We fully support the organisers in their efforts to raise awareness and increase acceptance, diversity and inclusivity in the islands. We wish them all the best for their event.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 30th May 2019

Local News for Tuesday 28th May 2019

WORKING GROUP TO EXAMINE PATIENT ESCORT POLICY IN ISLANDS

Isles MSP Alasdair Allan and Western Isles patient groups have welcomed the news that a working group will be convened to review NHS Western Isles’ system for approving funding for patient escorts.
Patients travelling off-island for treatment to mainland hospitals will, in many cases, require an escort to accompany them. Last year, NHS Western Isles announced a new system for approving requests for NHS-funded escorts, with the Health Board making the decision where this had previously been the responsibility of the patient’s GP.

While there were no changes made to the criteria for approving escorts or to the Patient Travel Policy, it appeared to patient groups that the criteria were being much more strictly enforced, leading to increasing numbers of people having their applications for a patient escort refused. Patient advocacy groups, led by the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI), have been pushing for a more patient-centred form of approval for patient escorts.

Following a petition launched by WICCI that gained over 1,500 signatures, and lobbying of the Scottish Government by MSP Alasdair Allan, the Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman has ordered NHS Western Isles to convene a working group as a matter of priority to review the process for patient escorts and take steps where required to ensure it is patient-centred and operates in such a way that best supports patients in making applications.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 28th May 2019

Local News for Wednesday 29th May 2019

WELCOME PACKS FOR ISLES UTILITA CUSTOMERS ON ‘THTC’

Total Heating, Total control (THTC) Customers who have moved to Utilita from Our Power’s Hebrides Energy tariffs will recently have received Welcome Packs showing their tariff and unit rates.
Utilita has advised this has been a complex process, but that they are now able to confirm the prices structure for these customers, through a tariff called ‘Control’ or ‘Control Plus’.
These unit rates on these welcome packs are showing a price increase from the 1st of June 2019. It is recommended that Customers look into whether they are on the best rate or whether it would be cheaper for them to switch away from Utilita.
Both SSE and Scottish Power offer comparable THTC tariffs.
If Customers would like further assistance and advice or would like someone to have a look at their bills, they can contact Tighean Innse Gall (T.I.G.) on 01851 706121 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 29th May 2019

Local News for Monday 27th May 2019

CROFT HOUSE GRANT SCHEME AWARDS IN WESTERN ISLES

Western Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed latest round of Croft House Grant Scheme awards announced by the Scottish Government

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing MSP announced recently that an additional £350,000 will support 10 crofting families in building or upgrading their croft houses.

Since 2007, more than £19 million of Croft House Grant has been awarded to over 950 crofters to upgrade housing or build new homes. Crofters in the Western Isles are eligible for the upper grant of £38,000.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented: “The Croft House Grant Scheme is an efficient and valuable way of building homes in rural areas. I am often lobbying the Scottish Government on this subject on behalf of constituents and it’s welcome to see more money going towards this purpose.

“The Scheme plays a vital role in retaining families in the in islands – as shown by the fact the majority of successful awards in this announcement were from the Western Isles.”

Read more: Local News for Monday 27th May 2019