The Chair of the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership has emphasised that Renewable Energy has the potential to transform the economy of the Outer Hebrides if Government provides the required assistance and works with local agencies.

Angus Campbell said: “It is ironic that the day after a two day seminar on depopulation and migration affecting the Outer Hebrides that we get an announcement from the UK Government that the Islands will not be included in the next round of Contract for Difference –which is required to make island windfarm projects viable.  It is fully accepted that renewable energy offers an unprecedented opportunity to transform the economic fortunes of the islands by bringing investment and creating jobs and training opportunities.

"To make that happen we need Government to set the right conditions and this latest announcement is extremely disappointing."

Cllr Campbell continued: "Renewables was identified at the Seminar as providing an opportunity for the Islands for economic regeneration. If the Community Planning Partners and the business and community organisations present at the event can see that, it is frustrating that, so far, the UK Government, which also stands to benefit by the production of  cheap electricity from a green secure source, has not put in place the mechanisms to make it happen.

"At the population seminar jobs, housing, environment and social amenities were identified as being essential in retaining young people and bringing them back to the Islands. The development of the renewables in the Islands can help bring about transformative change in these factors. The Community Planning Partners are more than willing to do their bit. Government should do theirs.”