DATES have been set for the first hearing in the case between a developer who wants to build dozens of turbines on common grazings and the crofters planning to put up community-owned turbines in the same area.

The Scottish Land Court announced the hearing between Stornoway Wind Farm Limited – Lewis Wind Power’s planned scheme for 36 turbines on common grazings – and the island’s residents who want their own wind farm there.

Spokesperson for Stornoway township Sandwick North Street, Rhoda Mackenzie, said: “We are doing this for the benefit of the Western Isles and that’s what’s focused everybody here over the years. That’s what’s driving them.”

The hearing is for Stornoway Wind Farm’s Section 19A application under the Crofting Act – which seeks final permission to go ahead with a plan, even when shareholders in the common grazings that are affected are opposed to it.

Before that, a public exhibition is to be held in Stornoway Town Hall by the four townships seeking to develop their own wind farms.

The Crofting Commission rejected three of the four applications – it is still deciding on the fourth – with the view that the renewable projects would cause “detriment” to Stornoway Trust, the landowner, which favours the bigger project from Lewis Wind Power.

However, the townships have already lodged their appeals with the Land Court and it is expected to hear these appeals as part of its consideration of the Section 19A application.