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SSEN will hold consultations in Stornoway in April about its controversial plans to build on the historically significant Lewis Chemical Works site.

The site is being floated to develop the high voltage converter substation essential to export renewable energy to the mainland.

SSEN has announced firm dates for mainland consultations on their proposed new transmission network but has yet to confirm details of the Stornoway event.

Earlier this month, the Stornoway Historical Society launched a petition to oppose the development at the Lewis Chemical Works site at Arnish.

Appealing for help with their petition, the Stornoway Historical Society said: “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. 

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.
Last December, they announced several changes to its original mainland development proposals, directly responding to community and stakeholder feedback.