Western Isles politicians and councillors have hailed a deal to save the BiFab yard in Lewis after it was threatened by administration – and they are hopeful about its long-term future. Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan welcomed the news as a “great Christmas present for the Isle of Lewis,” and said: “The emphasis now will be on ensuring that Arnish receives new orders in the future, something which I believe it is well placed to do, given the growing market in the renewables sector for the work that it does.”
Energy Voice 20th Nov 2017 read more »
I was in my office when the news broke that the Supreme Court had declined to hear the RSPB’s appeal against consent for four wind farms off the east coast of Scotland. I have to confess to getting a bit emotional. This has been a long, hard slog through the courts, and I have only really been involved since this summer when, in support of NNG, one of the four wind farms, we launched the NNG Coalition. The Scottish government gave its consent to the wind farms in the outer Forth and Tay estuaries in 2014 but RSPB Scotland launched a judicial review. It won an initial court victory but that was overturned in May, prompting it to seek an appeal in the Supreme Court. The fact that this was rejected gives us hope that there is a future for the offshore wind sector in Scotland. The simple truth is, we need projects like these to go ahead, and NNG will be the first for central Scotland. We launched the NNG Coalition after the Court of Session rejected the RSPB’s original appeal. Come on, we said. You have had your day in court, now let the projects go ahead. NNG will displace 400,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, making a material impact on climate change. This delay has caused an extra one million tonnes of CO2 to be released into the environment – this is contributing towards climate change, which is having a marked impact on Scotland’s seabird populations. It will also create hundreds if not thousands of highly skilled engineering jobs, and plough hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy for a generation. Some 60 organisations across Scotland joined us, appealing directly to the RSPB’s sense of fair play in the face of overwhelming due diligence approval from all legal, governmental and environmental agencies. We then spent frustrating weeks as the RSPB took its case to London. Please, we asked, drop the case. It’ s in no one’s interest, and in the time it has taken to get this far, the technology has moved on, meaning that the potential impact of the projects has shrunk materially. You are putting jobs, the economy, and Scotland’s environment at risk. You could understand, perhaps, the RSPB’s actions if this were a test case, exploring novel areas of the law. But it wasn’t. The law in this area is well settled. That was confirmed in the brief and terse decision of the Supreme Court. This case, the judges said, raises no arguable point of law or public interest. But, to get here we have wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money on lawyers, court time and expert opinion. These funds could, and should, have been building Scotland’s infrastructure.
Times 20th Nov 2017 read more »