The Stornoway Trust has rejected outright the suggestion that Mr Norman Maciver, who chairs the Trust, has a conflict of interest because he is also exploring the development of a windfarm near Barvas.

The Trust, which met last night (Monday January 28th), was reacting to a letter from four local grazings committees.

Following the meeting, Mr Iain Maciver, the estate’s Factor, issued a statement saying:

“It is the Trustees’ view that the letter has failed to establish how Mr Norman Maciver’s plan to explore the prospects of a windfarm development on his own land conflicts either with his office as Trustee or his responsibilities as Chairman of the Stornoway Trust.

“However, it sadly seems to show the level of unreasonable behaviour people elected by their own community to look after the best interest of the Estate, are now being subjected to.

“Unlike those who purport to represent the best interest of their crofting shareholders, Trustees like Mr Maciver are required to understand and sign up to strict governance rules which they must attain and observe whilst they remain in office.

“In addition to giving these undertakings, Mr Maciver has been a regular attendee at governance training and conflict-of-interest sessions since joining the Trust.

“In keeping with the standards required, Mr Maciver had already alerted the Trustees to the proposal once he became aware that the idea had progressed to the pre-planning scoping stage.

“Whilst Mr Maciver is free to take whatever action he may deem to be required to redress his accusers’ claims, the Trustees are of the view that he has no case to answer and are dismissive of the letter and its contents.”

The four crofting townships who wrote the letters - Sandwick North Street, Sandwick East Street and Lower Sandwick, Melbost and Branahuie, and Aignish - are seeking to develop community-owned wind farms on their common grazings near Stornoway.

Pre-application screening plans for the proposed development at Tol Mor, north-west of Upper Barvas, have been submitted to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

The proposed wind turbine development consists of a minimum of six wind turbines with proposed tower height of 92m and rotor diameter of 115m. The proposed tip height is approximately 150m. The proposed capacity is 24MW (4MW per turbine).

The agent for the development is Stillwind Ltd, based in Hexham, Northumberland, which describes itself as a specialist consultancy within the renewable energy sector and has two directors, David and Rhona Still.