Mhillidh na rothan-gaoithe am prìomh rud a tha a' cumail daoine air an tuath
Dè bu choir dhuinne bhith dèanamh as na h-Eileanan Siar airson cuideachadh le bhith sàbhaladh an t-saoghail bho bhlathachadh na cruinne? Innsidh mi an toiseach dè nach eil e cothromach faighneachd dhuinn a dhèanamh.
Chan ann airson cumhachd a thoirt do mhuinntir nan Eilean a tha na companaidhean, Lewis Wind Power agus Beinn Mhr Power, a' cur air adhairt nam planaichean seo idir. Tha iad airson cumhachd a thoirt gu ceann eile na duthcha, prothaidean mra a dhanamh, agus airson cothrom a thoirt dhan riaghaltas innse gu bheil iad a' coileanadh an geallaidhean air cumhachd ath-nuadhachail.
Se an amas a shaoileas mise bu choir a bhith aig muinntir nan eilean - cumhachd glan gu ler a chruthachadh s na h-Eileanan Siar gus nach fheumadh sinn kilowatt a thoirt ite sam bith eile. Chan ann a mhin againne bu choir seo a bhith na amas, ach aig a h-uile cearnaidh den duthaich. Se an dealan as 'uaine', an dealan a tha thu a' cruthachadh agus a' cleachadh air do starsaich fhin. Tha cumhachd dha chall dha na speuran leis a h-uile mile a tha e a' falbh air loidhne dealain.
Ciamar a dh'fhaodadh sinn ar cumhachd glan fhin a chruthachadh? Dh'fhaodadh ann a caochladh dhoighean - rothan gaoithe beaga coimhearsnachd a' toirt cumhachd dha na bailtean; sgamaichean hydro r, le rothan gaoithe a' slaodadh uisge suas nuair a tha a' ghaoth a' sideadh, deiseal son a leigeal s is dealan a chruthachadh; teas na talmhainn, mar a tha sinn a' faicinn "Ail leam gach beann, gach gleann, gach sruthan is allt" mar a thuirt brd Bharabhais, a' cuir ann am briathran as an ran llainn "Eilean mo ghaoil" mar a tha sinn a' faireachdainn mu eilean ar breith, eilean ar sinnsearachd, agus tha sinn an dchas, eilean ar cuid cloinne.
Na can rium nach eil airgead ann airson a leithid. Tha eiseimpleir Eilean Ghigha againn, far a bheil gl bheag de dhaoine air buannachd mhr fhaighinn dhan eilean aca le tr rothan gaoithe beaga. Tha sgeama hydro a' dol ann an Assainte, agus tha iteachan eile a' cruthachadh dealain dhaib' fhin. Tha an riaghaltas air cl cumhachd ath-nuadhachail, is carson nach b'urrainn dhuinn grantaichean is cuideachadh fhaighinn. Carson cuideachd nach gabhadh sinn iosadan mar a tha na companaidhean mra a' danamh, is subsidy ROCS ga phaigheadh air a h-uile watt dealan ath-nuadhachail.
D nach b'urrainn dhuinn a dhanamh as na h-Eileanan nam biodh an dealan paillt agus saor. Craichean dealain, a' cuir s do phrs ard a' pheatroil. An ite bhi faisg air an sgre as daora san t-saoghal airson taighean a chumail blath agus craichean a ruith, bhiodh sinn am measg an fheadhainn as saora. Bhiodh daoine a' sabaid airson a thighinn a dh'fhuireach an seo. Bhiodh gniomhachasan air an tarraing thugainn le dealan saor.
Tha cuid dhen luchd poilitigs againn gu mr air cl phlanaichean Lewis Wind Power is Beinn Mhr Power airson na raointean gaoithe mra. Nach eil obraichean is airgead a dhith air Ledhas, canaidh iad. Chan eil cil a dhith oirnn cho dona 'sgum mill sinn an dearbh rud a tha cumail daoine an seo - se sin an ceangal a th'aca ris an talamh, gu h-araidh an talamh baile aca fhin. Bhriseadh e mo chridhe-sa faicinn nan carbaidean bruideal aca a toirt gmagan mra as a' mhointich, a' cladhach chuaraidhean is rathaidean, a' lionadh an ite le concrete, agus a' sgapadh a' risg air a' mhonadh a th'air fhagail.
Feumaidh daoine suil gheur a thoirt air na geallaidhean a thaobh obraichean is airgid. A bheil na ceudan de dh'eileanaich dimhainn, deiseil airson leum air cosnadh a' togail na tuatha gaoithe? Mur a eil, c s a tha an luchd-obrach dol a thighinn. D mu dheidhinn nan obraichean maireannach a' coimhead as deidh nan tuathan gaoithe fhin. A bheil a h-uile h-aon a tha iad a' gealltainn cinnteach, neo am b'urrainn dhaibh falbh 'leis a ghaoith' aon uair 'sgu bheil na rothan gaoithe an airde. An aon rud leis an airgead - chaidh na h-aontaichean laghail eadar Lewis Wind Power agus na h-oighreachdan a sgrobhadh leis an luchd lagh as fherr, agus tha na th'aca ri rdh a thaobh airgid gu math toinnte.
Tha seo gun ghuth air a' chall a thigeadh air turasachd, is rannsachadh a rinn Visitscotland a' sealltainn gu faodadh cairteal de dhaoine fuireach air falbh bho sgre le tuathan gaoithe. Tha turasachd na ghniomhachas gl chudthromach, is cuideachd gniomhachas a tha a' fs. Am biodh sinn a' call barrachd na bhiodh sinn a' faighinn?
Dh'ionnsaich mi nach ann a mhin againn fhn a tha a' mhointeach priseal. Fhuair mi a-mach gu bheil an sersa mointich a th'ann a Ledhas cho gann is cho prseil ri coilltean-uisge ceann a deas Ameirica. Am biodh sinn deonach leigeal le Amec neo companaidh eile a' choille-uisge a ghearradh sios agus rothan gaoithe a chuir suas na h-aite?
Ach ma tha sibh a' gabhail ris gur e tuathan gaoithe an t-aon freagart a th'ann an drst' airson blathachadh na cruinne, cuiribh na 1000 MW a tha Lewis Wind Power agus Beinn Mhr Power ag iarraidh sos gu na sgrean far a bheil feum air a' chumhachd sin. Tha mintich ann a Sasuinn a b'urrainn an cleachdadh airson tuathan gaoithe, ma tha iad cho math sin.
Ann a Ledhas, bu chir dhuinn coimhead ri ciamar a b'fherr an cumhachd a tha dhith oirnn fhin a chruthachadh. Innealan a chleachdadh aig meudachd a tha freagarrach airson Eilean an Fhraoich, gun an arainneachd a mhilleadh. Sgamaichean aig meudachd 'sgum b'urrainn dha companaidhean ionadal dhol an ss annta, chan e "am fear as motha as an t-saoghal". Gheibheadh sinn buannachd mhaireannach a leithid seo de phoilisidh... agus dhanadh sinn ar pairt fhin ann a bhith a sbhaladh an t-saoghail.
The windfarms will destroy the very thing which keeps people in the rural areas
What should we in the Western Isles do in order to help the world in the battle against global warming? I'll tell you first of all what it is unfair to ask us to do. That is, accepting a plan to completely destroy our island and our environment. There are two planning applications in right now, which would leave us with 367 of the largest wind turbines in the world on the broad low-lying northern moors of the island and on the hills of the Eisgein estate in the south of the island.
These companies Lewis Windpower and Beinn Mhr Power are not pushing this plan in order to provide power for the people of the islands. They are intended to generate power to be transported to the other end of the country, make huge profits, and to give the government an opportunity to claim that they are fulfilling their promises regarding renewable power.
I believe that people of the islands should be aiming to produce enough clean power in the Western Isles themselves so that we shall not have to import a single kilowatt from anywhere else. We should not be the only ones aiming to do this, it should be the ambition of people everywhere across the nation. The "greenest" electricity is the power you generate and use on your own doorstep. Power is lost to the ether with every mile it is transported on an electricity cable.
How could we generate our own clean power? We could in a variety of ways - we could have little community wind turbines which send power to the villages, we could have new hydro power schemes, with wind turbines hauling the water up while the wind is blowing so that it can flow downwards and create electricity. There is heat from the ground. "I love each hill, each valley, each stream and each river," were the words of the Barvas Bard in his beautiful song "Island of my Love" as we see in the island of our birth, the island of our ancestors, and - we hope - the island of our children.
Don't tell me that there is not the money for such alternatives. We have the example of the Island of Gigha, where a very small community have made a good living from three small wind turbines. There is a hydro scheme operating in Assynt, and there are other places making their own electricity. The government is backing renewable power, and therefore there ought to be grants and support available. Why not take out loans just like the big companies do, what with subsidies available for every watt of renewable-generated electricity?
What could the islands not do if the local power was cheap and plentiful? There might be electric cars, which would put paid to the high price of petrol. Instead of being almost the most expensive place in the world for keeping a house warm and running a car, we might be among the cheapest places. People would be fighting to come here. Businesses could be attracted by cheap electricity.
Some of our politicians are very much behind the windfarm plans by Lewis WInd Power and Beinn Mhr Power. They claim that Lewis needs the work and the money. We do not need anything so much that we have to destroy the very thing which keeps people here - the connection which they have with the land, especially the land of their own village. It would break my heart to see the huge trucks taking massive chunks out of the moorlands, digging quarries and roads, filling the whole place with concrete, and scattering the plant cover on what was left of the moor.
People have to take a long hard look at the promises regarding jobs and money. Are there really those hundreds of idle islanders ready to jump for the jobs offered by the windmills? If not, then where are the workers going to come from?
And what about the long-term jobs which are to come from looking after the windmills? Are they all guaranteed? Or will they be "scattered to the winds" once the wind mills are up. It is the same thing with the money. The legal agreements between Lewis Wind Power and the landlords have been drafted by some of the best lawyers, and what they have to say about money is buried deep.
And that is before we even start talking about the damage to tourism. A study by VisitScotland shows that a quarter of visitors might stay away from an area with a windfarm. The tourism industry is very important and it is a growing business. Would we be losing more than we would be gaining?
I have discovered that we are not the only ones who regard our moorlands as precious. It has come to my attention that the kind of moor we have in Lewis is as rare and as valuable as the rainforests of South America. Would we be so willing to allow Amec or another company to tear down the rainforests and replace them with wind turbines?
But even if we accept that wind farms are the only answer right now to global warming, then why not put the 1,000 MW which Lewis Wind Power and Beinn Mhr want down to those areas where the power is needed. England has moorlands which can be used for windfarms, if they are so wonderful.
In Lewis, we should be looking to how we can produce the power that we need. Let's have equipment which suits the needs of Lewis, without destroying the environment. Schemes of a size that a local company could get involved, not "The biggest in the world". We would benefit in the long term, and we would play our own part in saving the world.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west