Call for power project to start

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - NEWS -

Long-awaited work on the pro­posed West­ern Isles Ra­dial Con­nec­tor should start im­me­di­ately, ac­cord­ing to the shadow sec­re­tary of state for Scot­land, Les­ley Laird.

The in­ter­con­nec­tor would ex­port wind farm-gen­er­ated elec­tric­ity from the West­ern Isles to main­land Scot­land.

Com­mit­ments to build the in­ter­con­nec­tor were made in the Con­ser­va­tive man­i­festo, but no start date has yet been given.

Scot­tish Labour MP Ms Laird has writ­ten to Scot­tish Sec­re­tary David Mun­dell urg­ing him to bring for­ward build­ing work for the project.

She said: “On my visit to the West­ern Isles ear­lier this month, I heard first­hand the ben­e­fits this in-

“It would bring huge en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits”

ter­con­nec­tor could bring to the com­mu­nity.

“It would bring huge eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits to the peo­ple of the West­ern Isles, with in­de­pen­dent ex­perts es­ti­mat­ing it would add over £400mil­lion to the lo­cal econ­omy.”

MSP Rhoda Grant, Scot­tish Labour’s ru­ral af­fairs spokes­woman, backed the call. “The West­ern Isles has enor­mous po­ten­tial for re­new­able en­ergy pro­duc­tion, par­tic­u­larly with wind power. But in or­der to achieve its full po­ten­tial, the is­land must have an in­ter­con­nec­tor with the main­land.”

A De­part­ment for Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy spokesman said an an­nounce­ment was im­mi­nent.

“The UK Gov­ern­ment is a global leader in tack­ling cli­mate change and wants to en­sure lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties ben­e­fit from in­vest­ments in our low-car­bon econ­omy.

“UK En­ergy Min­is­ter Richard Har­ring­ton met stake­hold­ers in Aberdeen last month to dis­cuss is­land wind projects and we ex­pect to set out our plans on th­ese shortly.”

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