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Stornoway Historical Society has launched a Change.org petition to oppose controversial SSEN plans to build on the historically significant Lewis Chemical Works site.

While conceding the high voltage converter substation is essential to export renewable energy to the mainland, the historical society states the Lewis Chemical Work site will be destroyed if the development goes ahead as planned.

Pleading for help with their petition, the Stornoway Historial Society says: “The massive planned structure will be equal to three times the area of the Western Isles Hospital site, with a height equivalent to that of the Lewis War Memorial. 

“It is important that the historical assets of our area are protected so that they may be studied, appreciated and enjoyed by present and future generations.”

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) are proposing to build a high voltage converter station, sub-station and associated buildings to transfer clean, renewable energy from island windfarms via a 1.8 GW subsea cable that makes landfall at Arnish.

However, the site for the onshore connection on Lewis at Marybank straddles the Lewis Chemical Works site, an important relic of Scotland’s industrial past.

The works were built in the mid-19th century by then Lewis owner, Sir  James Matheson, who was attempting to extract paraffin from peat.

At the time, paraffin was in demand and railway tracks were laid to haul the peat for processing.

As well as the destruction of industrial heritage, there is opposition being voiced by neighbouring households near the proposed SSEN development. 

Stornoway Sea Angling Association has also expressed concern about the potential pollution risk for the nearby River Creed and the threat posed to salmon and sea trout fisheries.

SSEN is maintaining that no final decision on the site has been reached.