I am writing to you in reply to the “Argyll Array Project Update No 13.”
Visual Impact Vs Socio-Economics.
I find it hard to believe that no one at SPR has highlighted any connection between the visual impact and a negative impact on the Socio Economic situation on Tiree. As we all know tourism brings a significant amount of sustainable income and related employment to the Island.
After speaking to tourists over the summer period, many of them value the peace, unspoiled scenery and rural environment that makes Tiree such a unique holiday destination. How does SPR intend to convince us that tourism will not be affected by the erection of this unprecedented sized wind farm so close to our shores? Will any spin off benefits merely fill the void caused by the negative impact of the development? How many people may become unemployed through a decline in tourism? Perhaps rather than another non-committal response, SPR might give us some firm assurances about how they intend to address and reassure us on this particular matter in the very near future.
While SPR prefers to dismiss or undermine anyone who questions the accuracy of the visualisations they recently produced, I would still like to seek further assurance on this topic.
Some worrying points are that their images were taken at a time of day when the light was most favourable to hide the impact of the turbines. Information from the Met office confirms that later in the same day the visibility was greatly superior.
I also noted that in none of their visualisations did any of the turbines appear in the foreground. All of the turbines appear on the the horizon or further away. The picture taken from Sandaig has a turbine at 6 km distance but it appears on the horizon, however a conservative estimate of the height from which the picture was taken puts the horizon at 10 km away. Is this a deliberate mistake by SPR to reduce the visual proximity of their development?
Although the visualisations in their present form may be shocking to many, can SPR actually convince us that the reality will be no worse? SPR’s is, to date, unwilling to publish these visualisations on their website (after numerous requests) this along with the disclaimer which seems to appear on most SPR publications to the community (relieving SPR of any legal responsibility on their accuracy) does nothing to reassure me.
Although throughout this letter I have expressed my own personal point of view I would like to make a comment on the ‘Updates’ in the An Tirisdeach from the SPR Representative.
In the last update I felt that rather than feel like I was getting factual responses from SPR, I was reading the personal opinions from the SPR Representative. I believe it would be more beneficial for those of us who are closely following the developments, to feel like comments and feedback are being addressed directly from the senior management at SPR and information in the An Tirisdeach is coming directly from ‘ the SPR decision makers’ too.
Speculation from the SPR Representative on issues like the ‘ main view’ of public reaction to the visualisations, I believe should not be made in this official capacity when the community is hoping for accountable/factual responses from SPR instead.
Finally, the first item in the “Update” is a desire from the community to see something in return for any negative impact. Indicating that most people are expecting that that wind farm is going to have a negative impact on the island.
The worrying fact is that in the same section SPR Representative says, “we are committed, however, to responsibly discussing potential benefits with the island as soon as they are identified”. On this basis, is this an admission that presently SPR does not currently see any guaranteed benefits for the Island as some of us already fear?