Category Archives: Community Announcements

Community Fuel Station Update

Following our last update, Tiree Community Enterprise Ltd (TCE) has been very busy working with our project partners to deliver the petrol station on budget and as quickly as possible.

Both goals have proved to be demanding but good progress has been made and a big thank you goes to each of our contractor, consultant and funders for their efforts and support to date. Despite some difficulties with the ferries, the site investigation work is now complete. This was an important phase of the works as it provided the opportunity for us to fully explore the viability of underground storage tanks which had previously been discounted during the feasibility study. While being desirable from an aesthetic viewpoint, they also offer substantial cost saving and manufacture lead time benefits. The site investigation went well and the preferred option is now to install underground tanks.

The contractor in now moving towards completion of his design and we hope to be in receipt of their drawings, costs and the build programme in about three to four weeks. It is hoped at that time we will be in a position to submit the formal applications to the various statutory authorities.

As alluded to in our last update, timescales are proving to be the most challenging aspect of the project. We have been informed that the Planning Department is experiencing a significant backlog due to COVID restrictions and SEPA are currently experiencing IT problems. We hope to be in a position to report further on this item in our next update.

A question we seem to get asked a lot is “Are we installing electric vehicle charging points?” The answer is yes, but maybe not straight away. We are installing the infrastructure to support the charging points and our contractor is looking for ways to future proof the installation. However, the charging points themselves will only be installed immediately if the budget permits. If it does not, we shall seek further funding to allow them to be installed as soon as possible.

The work of the TCE board is not just confined to the construction. TCE have been looking to the operational phase and is laying the initial ground work with regards to financial planning, property management and environmental issues. Additionally, we have issued proposal invitations to several fuel suppliers. Their responses are expected in just over three weeks’ time.

As previously stated, the TCE board has been keen to promote the use of local contractors and we are pleased to report that Adler and Allen are of a similar view. We understand that appointments for transport and civil engineering works are to be let locally and there may be other possible openings for the local community. If you would like to discuss the potential subcontractor opportunities, please contact Jock Breckney by email Jock.Breckney@adlerandallan. co.uk or alternatively call him on 07770 827 262.

Ranger News

Hiya folks, How are we all doing?

Well Spring is here after the windy few weeks of Feb. The Skylarks are singing and we are starting to see other migrant birds arrive back, including the Lesser Black-backed Gulls that would have overwintered in Portugal and Morocco. It’s great to see the Fulmars back wheeling around Balephetrish as well.

There has been a couple of Otter road casualties in the last few months and I just want to say thanks to folk for reporting and if you see a dead, or even better, a live Otter please keep letting me know.

I attended the Eurasian Otter Conference online over the weekend and there has been a lot of work done identifying individual Otters by their footprints. Like us they have markers in their pads that can be picked up by computer modelling, such as where they put pressure when they are walking that, can help identify them. The folk behind this research are happy for me to send them prints which will help identify the range of different individual Otters around Tiree. Super high-tech stuff and quite exciting. Hopefully update you on this soon.

On the theme of Otters, some of you joined me for the Cùram talk the other day. I’ve had a flurry of requests to repeat the talk and to open it to those off island so I hope to firm down a Zoom date shortly for it to go ahead before the end of March. With the Lockdown continuing for the time being there is a pause on physical Ranger events but when the situation allows I will look at doing the bespoke events such as the Otter walks, rock pooling etc. like I did last year. These were very popular and having small groups ensured Covid rules were followed

. On that note, we have kept the bookings closed for the Croft Camping Sites at the moment for May and June but will allow bookings from July onwards from the end of the week. Obviously, this will all be dependant that travel restrictions are lifted and adhered to if folk live in an area where they still apply but if you have any friends who usually use the sites then get them to keep an eye on www.isleoftiree.com/croft-camping for updates.

And to end on some happy news, I heard at the weekend that two of the three Grey Seal pups, Banjo and French Horn, that were sent to the SSPCA Fishcross Wildlife Hospital have been released back into the wild. A third, Cello, unfortunately died from a sudden illness before release but it’s great to know that all the effort from folk here on Tiree and the Wildlife Hospital has meant that two have made it. They were released on the East coast along with other pups.

Myself and the rest of the Trust staff are still home working so it’s best to get a hold of me by email ranger@tireetrust.org.uk or on 01879 220074. You can also contact me on my own mobile 07506037113 if it is an emergency. So just a short update for now Until next time…

Consultation on future cemetery needs launched

The council is developing new policies on the best way to manage cemeteries throughout the area in the coming years and we would like to hear your views.

It is really important to take steps now to ensure that options are available for people when they need them in the future. Argyll and Bute has 131 Cemeteries spread throughout its communities, however 67 cemeteries are now closed to the sale of spaces. Community volunteers, in a small number of areas, support council services by maintaining local burial grounds. Similar initiatives would be welcomed elsewhere.

According to statute, local authorities are only required to provide one cemetery per area. Councillor Rory Colville, Policy Lead for Roads and Infrastructure Services, said: “This is a sensitive subject, which touches us all. What we want to do is understand priorities and expectations so we can plan for the future. Any changes are likely to take place over a decade. “I would encourage people to look at our proposals and give us their thoughts.”

The consultation is now on the council website: https:// www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/ consultations/consultation-futurecemeteries

Tiree Ranger News

Hiya folks,

How are we all doing? It’s been a steady few weeks sorting things out after the Christmas break.

It was surprising for me to see such a heavy ground frost for almost a week a few weeks back and I’ve been told it doesn’t usually last that long. I’m working away quietly on things that I can hopefully get folk involved in when it is safe to do so.

The Otter walks were really popular last year and I’ve been keeping an eye on my viewing site and the Otters have been very active no matter what the weather. Please keep sending in any signs or sightings of Otters as I’m building up a picture of the different territories on the island. This includes any records of dead ones.

RTA’s are one of the most common causes of Otter deaths in Scotland and I know it may be upsetting if one runs out in front of you but accidents happen and it’s good to be able to get a hold of the Otter for measurements and aging. Likewise keep sending in any cetacean strandings as well. Thank you to all of you who have done so so far.

A wee shout out to parents and teachers:-I know many of you are home schooling at the moment and it’s just to say that if there’s anything I can do to help just drop me an email. I’m chatting to other Ranger services to see what activities that have been offering that can be done from home and I hope to have some of these available next issue.

So just a short update for now. Myself and the rest of the Trust staff are still home working so it’s best to get a hold of me by email ranger@tireetrust.org.u k

Argyll Estates Shorelines on Tiree

Argyll Estates has ownership of an extent of shorelines all around Argyllshire including Tiree, Kintyre, Cowal, Lismore, Mull and other parts of Argyll. This ownership is from the high to the low water mark.

Argyll Estates holds these coasts in trust and welcomes general public use. No restrictions are imposed by Argyll Estates to responsible access. As a result, Argyll has remained a county where restrictions on coastline access is virtually nil unless a neighbouring landowner presents a barrier. This open access is prevalent on Tiree and, together with the beautiful sandy beaches, is one aspect of what makes the Island so special. A license has been granted on a temporary basis for an operator on Tiree to carry out trials on seaweed fertiliser production. The fee is nominal. This has a limit on extraction, is limited to washed up seaweed and the license has specific rules on disturbance to people and nature. This is necessarily an exclusive commercial license but it does not exclude anyone else on Tiree taking washed up seaweed for their own personal use.

Two local watersports businesses also operate commercially from Argyll Estates shorelines with our approval. Both operate responsibly and there is no fee. Should a vehicle park on a beach where there is no safe or appropriate land parking area, if the access route is suitable and no risk is taken to pedestrians or animals, Argyll Estates have no objection to this being exercised responsibly. Vehicles should not ordinarily use beaches and should travel at crawl speed and no further than necessary. This includes for launching of boats and the like. Public safety is always paramount and reckless or dangerous behaviour is always covered by Road Traffic and Careless Driving laws and regulations. Argyll Estates would expect no motorised vehicle to exceed 5-10 mph at most.

Sand and Gravel custom and practice on Argyll Estates shorelines has permitted farmers and crofters (including common graziers) to take a free ‘de minimus’ amount for their own agricultural use. To date, in all areas other than Tiree, this has been respected with no issues brought to our attention. In Tiree it is alleged that large scale extraction, sometimes described as “industrial scale quarrying”, has occurred. No tangible usable evidence for a prosecution has been presented for this but the number of anonymous voices reporting the matter has given weight to the likelihood that removal by a few has exceeded the de minimus and reasonable personal agricultural use rules. Without tangible evidence, no action against alleged infringements can be taken. A good definition of “de minimus” is; “‘too small to be meaningful and of negligible impact’. On Tiree, there remains many individuals who qualify and the vast majority have always, and still do, stoutly respect the unwritten code permitting responsible use that has existed for centuries. As an unwritten oral tradition, as was once more common in Gaelic society, the lack of historic written evidence can be an issue.

However, for the avoidance of doubt, Argyll Estates confirms that the permission exists and it has our approval when responsibly exercised. Argyll Estates recognises the marginal nature of agriculture on Tiree. We also recognise the benefits it provides which greatly outweighing the collection of and amount of aggregate for legitimate use which is “too small to be meaningful and of negligible impact” on our shorelines. The permission does not grant carte blanch removal. Where there is an agricultural requirement for large quantities of aggregates, this should be purchased lawfully. Tiree has a legitimate licensed source which was specifically created following comment in the past that there was not such a source locally so all sand and gravel had to be taken from the beach. Off Island sources are of course also available and if demand increases, economies of scale improve. Nor does the permission allow removal for private use other than directly agricultural. The road and substructure for a new or refurbished property belonging to a friend or relation of a farmer or crofter is not permitted. Nor is large scale extraction for bunds or other structural or landscaping use. Were a resident of Tiree to visit the beach and take a small amount of sand for their private garden use, Argyll Estates, while not expressly granting permission, would be very unlikely to pursue this.

The de minimus allowance is given on trust that it will be used responsibly and should only be used for the crofter or farmers own agricultural use. Sale of sand and gravel taken without permission would be considered as theft and the purchase of illegally taken goods is also a criminal offence; specifically known in Scots law as “reset”.

Sale or gifting of aggregates removed under this de minimus rule is specifically excluded other than where one farmer or crofter assists another with their de minimus sand and gravel collection for no monetary return. In the past few years, and with most again this past year, Argyll Estates has engaged with a variety of individuals and we have specifically contacted the following organisations:

• Argyll & Bute Council

• Tiree Community Council

•Tiree Community Development Trust including the Ranger Service

• Police Scotland

• Crown Estates Scotland

• NatureScot (SNH)

• RSPB

• Contractors operating in Tiree

While most are sympathetic, it is clear to Argyll Estates that without the people of Tiree assisting and speaking up when necessary, the alleged abuse of the permission by a few can and will continue. Understandably, no organisation wished to jump in and take on this matter particularly when there is no firm evidence and all individuals reporting an incident wish to remain anonymous. Most of those in a position to take leadership, while clear and vocal ‘in camera’, in public take a different tack. Positively however, I do see a stronger confidence forming amongst all involved or interested in this matter.

My hope is that with this matter discussed openly and with “guidelines” set out for this previously unwritten matter relying on responsibility and trust, there is now a better basis to proceed without varying or terminating this ancient tradition. If there are any who did not understand the gift we share and did not realise that nature itself dictates that it is not an unrestricted and endless entitlement, I hope that this note has helped to clarify matters.

Tiree is an Island community that needs everyone involved to work constructively, respectfully, openly and honestly together. Without it, more than this valuable tradition may fall apart.

Hugh Nichol, Argyll Estates, 19 January 2021

Tiree Community Council – January Meeting

This month’s meeting was well attended, with over 50 participants.

The meeting was also joined by Argyll and Bute Councillors Mary- Jean Devon and Jim Lynch, in addition to the Factor of Argyll Estates, Hugh Nicol. Mr. Nicol gave feedback on the Estate’s position regarding sand and gravel extraction from Tiree’s beaches and was also invited to the upcoming public meeting of the Planning Sub-Committee. Cllrs Devon and Lynch made contributions on a variety of issues, including local fuel poverty and possible changes to the hospitality industry which could have significant impact upon the island economy. Sand and gravel extraction from Tiree’s beaches was discussed at length. As it stands, Argyll Estate’s position on the issue is that extraction is permitted on a ‘de minimis’ basis; crofters are entitled to extract small amounts of material from the beaches for their own agricultural use. However, this position is based on an unwritten understanding which predates modern machinery and extraction methods. There are fears that over-extraction could be contributing to coastal erosion – an issue with many tangible impacts on local wildlife and the island landscape. Concerns over profiteering were also mentioned by the Factor, who raised the issue of unauthorised sale of these materials for profit. Mr Nicol also agreed, however, with points that were raised regarding the complex nature of land ownership and use on Tiree stemming from ownership, inheritance and lease of different crofts in various arrangements. Therefore, the issue of who is extracting how much and for what purpose is a difficult one. Mr. Nicol agreed to maintain communication with the community and to work towards clarification of the existing understanding, especially the ‘de minimis’ requirement and what this means in practice. It was also stressed that materials can be purchased in bulk from the local quarry or from private businesses – this is recommended for any large-scale projects such as housing foundations, where materials must comply to certain safety regulations. Tiree Community Council welcomes correspondence on this issue from all members of the community going forward.

Concerns were also raised over the pier marshalling area, both in terms of appearance and safety. At present, the marshalling area does not cater well for pedestrians, with few pavements or footpaths. This is a serious safety concern, an issue which was highlighted by Angus John in relation to the bus service. The lack of a bus stop means that people looking for the Ring ‘n’ Ride bus are often left to wander around. Additionally, the pier is part of the school bus route. The pier is not well suited to turn the buses; an issue which is exacerbated by the Summer ferry timetable when the car lanes are full awaiting sailings. This poses a safety concern for pier users as well as to the bus drivers and children on board. Issues surrounding the appearance of the area due to ongoing works have largely been resolved, however the overall appearance of the area leaves a lot to be desired and concerns over the welcome this presents to visitors were also raised. As a result of these discussions a small working group was formed, consisting of Cllrs Dr. John Holliday, Alison Clark and Stewart Carr to advocate for the community’s concerns over the safety and maintenance of this area going forward.

Positive steps were also taken regarding the Community Council’s online presence; the Councillors resolved to produce a new set of policies for how we facilitate discussion online. The Community Council intends to allow commenting on both our Facebook page – which is public and can be viewed by anyone by searching online – and on our own website. The policies we are working towards aim to make these forums a pleasant and open space for members of the public to discuss issues and raise concerns. To achieve this, we are working towards some guidelines of best conduct, which will allow us to moderate these discussions in a clear and fair way should any issues arise. As always, we will continue to welcome correspondence from members of the community via our e-mail addresses, which are publicly available on our website.

Ongoing issues include upcoming meetings with the Boundaries Commission, community consultation on the Marine Protected Area status affecting Tiree and Coll and the possible introduction of more Gaelic into Council proceedings.

Dr John Holliday, Chair: 220 385
doc.holliday@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

Phyl Meyer, Secretary:
phyl@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

Tiree Community Council – December Meeting

Even with the allure of Christmas Shopping at the Pier, the December meeting of Tiree Community Council continued to show good a good level of attendance with 32 total participants.

There were many items to be discussed including more from the boundaries commission proposals, a very informative presentation from Scottish Water, and an insight into our Agenda meetings and some of the sub-committee meetings we attend throughout the month.

Correspondence included notification that Tiree and Coll and the Sea of the Hebrides would be awarded Marine Protected Area status. It is thought that this will not impact the fishermen on the island but could cause issues for trawlers and any future sub-sea cable plans.

The Police Scotland Report was also received. An incident of a sheep being struck by a car in Scarinish took place on 9th December. This accident resulted in the death of the sheep. PC Tanner reminded that is an offence to leave such an incident unreported and urged anyone with information to get in touch. Mark Petrie and Brian McCarthy of Scottish Water were then welcomed to the meeting. A very in depth and interesting presentation was given on the current structure of Tiree’s water network and what we can do to reduce waste going forward. Did you know a leaky toilet or dripping tap can see up to 400 litres per day of water wastage? Scottish Water have schemes and financial support available for domestic properties in priority areas such as Tiree to help with water waste on the island, the details of which can be found shortly on the Tiree Community Council website or by visiting www.scottishwater.co.uk

The community council was anticipating a meeting with the Boundaries Commission to discuss what the future of Tiree’s Councilor representation might look like. However, this meeting has not materialised. After a successful consultation period there was found to be an overwhelming mandate to push for a designated single councilor ward for Tiree and Coll. A vote took place at the meeting and it was unanimously decided to pursue this motion.

With the expertise of Iona Campbell, Tiree Community Council stepped into the 21st Century and used an online survey tool called Survey Monkey to carry out aspects of the consultation. There are many positives to such a platform including clear quantitative results, transparency and anonymity. Of course, there will always be the option to have a show of hands or to put pen to paper for those not quite ready to take the technological leap.

A discussion then took place regarding meetings attended by councillors throughout the month. An initial planning sub-committee meeting took place to discuss current planning guidelines and informally chat about what the Tiree Community Council Planning Policy might look like. This subcommittee will be working hard to have a draft planning policy ready for community feedback in February 2021. The notes from this meeting will be made available and anyone with an interest in observing future planning sub-group meetings is welcome to do so.

An agenda meeting also takes place between every public meeting whereby the councillors can discuss any upcoming issues and raise any matters brought to us by the community. Every issue raised to us by the community is discussed, and an agenda is formed. Our Convener is a Community Council enthusiast and also attends various meetings from other islands throughout the month.

The next TCC public meeting is on the 13th January. An invitation of attendance has been sent to Argyll Estates Factor Hugh Nicol to attend. If anyone has any issues they want to raise, then please get in touch.

Dr John Holliday was in the chair. Phyl Meyer, Gerard McGoogan, Louise Reid, Iona Campbell, John Patience, Stewart Carr and Alison Clark were in attendance.

Community Council By-Election

A recent by-election for the community council was conducted by Argyll and Bute Council.

There were four vacancies, for which six residents put themselves forward. The number of votes cast were as follows below.

There were 302 ballots counted with 6 rejected, a turnout of 58% of those entitled to vote. Dr John Holliday, Convenor of Tiree Community Council welcomed the new councillors:

“It’s wonderful,” he said, “to have a full complement on the council again. We had hoped that the new council would be more diverse, and that has certainly happened. Hats off to everyone who stood for election. It’s a nervewracking thing to do, but it makes the council a much stronger body.”

Congratulations to those elected and thanks to all for taking part!

Tiree Trust News

Tiree Renewable Energy (TREL)

Some of you may have noticed that Tilley has not been turning for the last few weeks. A generator fault was registered in September and since then two teams of engineers from Enercon (the turbine manufacturer) have attended.

The first team conducted diagnostic tests to locate and identify the fault, and the second carried out preparatory work so that the repairs can be made smoothly. A third team of engineers will be attending shortly to install replacement parts and complete the repair. Enercon are planning to have Tilley operational again by 30th November.

Tiree Broadband

Tiree Broadband continues to be affected by a fault in the BT Cabinet in Crossapol. Tiree broadband normally uses 7 fibreoptic lines from the Crossapol Cabinet as it’s ‘backhaul’ (i.e. where it gets its internet from) and then distributes it to the network via wireless dishes.

Our network is currently operating from one backup fibreoptic line at An Iodhlann which is fed from the cabinet at the Scarinish Exchange. The result is that Tiree Broadband customers will have a restricted service but should still be able to do essential tasks online.

We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused our customers and would like to assure you that we are working hard to resolve this issue and have been speaking with Tiree Community Council to make sure our voice is heard by both BT and The Scottish Government on this issue.

The Cruas Fund

In direct response to the economic impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, The Trust has decided to launch The Cruas fund. Cruas is the Gaelic word for hardship. The Trust will be supported by Cùram Thiriodh to administer the fund via the Solar food project.

The fund is aimed as a short-term support mechanism for people in our community whose financial circumstances change quickly and is not meant to supplement any longer-term benefit system.

If you have recently found yourself in financial difficulty you can contact Solar in the strictest confidence on solartiree{@}gmail.com or 07375 929350 (text or phone).

Crossapol Playpark Needs Your Help

No matter when you pass the Playpark at Crossapol you will probably see someone in it. Whether you are a child, parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle or friend you will have enjoyed the experience of ‘playing’ there. It is a very well used park by both locals and visitors and the users all make very positive comments about what a great Playpark it is.

Tiree Community Business in partnership with ACHA take care of the Playpark and keep it as safe as possible for all to enjoy. However, most of the equipment has had its day and has outlived its safe lifespan. This means that it needs replacing and this means a large amount of money – about £24,000.

Tiree Community Business have funded some new pieces of equipment over the last few years with the help of many generous donations and these newer pieces will remain. If you feel able to donate towards the replacement of the equipment please contact Norma at Tiree Community Business:

Tel: 01879 220 520 Email: tireecommunitybusiness@btconnect.com

Cheques should be made payable to – Tiree Community Business and sent to Tiree Community Business, The Island Centre, Isle of Tiree PA77 6UP

Remember “Every Little Helps’ and Thank You

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