NTA Update

NTA decided at the end of February to look at environmental issues associated with the proposed Tiree (Argyll) Array.

We reported in the 16th March edition of AnT on the unique Tiree status of the Great Northern Diver and Basking Shark. This highlighted their relationship to possible Special Protected Areas on Skerryvore Reef, and the context of the marine environment to the proposed Tiree Array. Such status issues may have crucial and fundamental implications in the consenting process for the proposed Tiree Array- NTA expanded upon these themes in the 30th March edition of AnT. Coincidentally in the same edition, SPR tucked away a discreet announcement of an 18 month delay in the project. SPR gave environmental reasons for this delay, coincidentally, with specific reference to the Great Northern Diver and Basking Sharks!

The latest JNCC report shows that a substantial basking shark HOT SPOT has been recognised overlapping the Great Northern Diver HOT SPOT within the entire proposed array area. This concentration of sharks is equal if not more important than the nationally important Gunna Sound hotspot.

VISUALISATIONS

scale of array turbines

Look closely. It gives you a very clear idea of how Skerryvore will be dwarfed if this Array goes ahead. Don’t forget Skerryvore will be surrounded by 180-300 Turbines. Scottish Power Renewables has PERSISTENTLY refused NTA’s requests to publish its June 2011 Visualisations and Montages. As recently as 14th May SPR still resisted when stating “It’s not consumer friendly to put such a large files on line”. Two days later however, SPR finally posted their visualizations on their website. (http://www.argyllarray.com/news-detail.asp?item=134). Just WHY it has taken SPR nearly a year to do so is a mystery. Perhaps they were worried at what your reaction might be, to what these monsters might look like close to Tiree’s shores? Maybe it is coincidental that NTA‘s detailed March 2012,submission to Marine Scotland criticised SPR ‘s Public Information and Consultation? NTA advised Marine Scotland that: – “contrary to previous undertakings SPR had not posted these June 2011 visualisations”. NTA’s submission to Marine Scotland also advised that SPR had not updated its Tiree (Argyll) Array website since July 2011. For those who follow the SPR website, there has, in the last few weeks, been a veritable deluge of updates!

RSPB

At the end of February, NTA contacted the RSPB to protest at a serious omission on the RSPB website. It contained no specific reference, or information, on the proposed Tiree (Argyll) Array. The omission was made more shocking by the RSPB’s site having specific references to other Scottish offshore wind farm sites. NTA is pleased to advise that the RSPB has now rectified their omission, and the RSPB site now has a dedicated Tiree (Argyll) Array page. To find out how they see things NOW, go to www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/casework/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-313798. Friends of the Earth, WWF & RSPB have been reported in the national press as recipients of funding from wind farm developers. NTA has been in contact with the chairpersons of each organization, asking for details of such funding.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: NTA’S NEXT CAMPAIGN MILESTONES:

Following SPR’s recent confirmation that they will study the possible local climate change caused by the inshore array, NTA will try to ascertain what methodology SPR intend to use to study these affects on our island’s weather, on our agriculture, on our environment and ultimately affects to our homes. NTA will confirm the current International, European & UK protection legislation, furnished upon the local areas proven to already meet and exceed the SPA/NIMA & MPA criteria, ie the areas that would be damaged or destroyed by the industrialisation of Skerryvore Reef and the entire area of the proposed Array.

Following the recent tourism boom at the UK’s incredible first ‘Dark Sky’ park in Galloway, NTA will further investigate Tiree’s posible ‘Dark Sky’ status and future loss of our beautiful night skies caused by the Tiree Array. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ukscotland- south-scotland- 17988825

UNCERTAINTY

NTA has been criticized for making reference to the Nov 2011 CITI report that there would be investment uncertainty created in the light of the independence issue. SPR’s rivals Scottish and Southern (SSE), it must be said, has been open and forthright on this issue, by stating that it would honour existing investment in Scotland. SSE warned, however, that the uncertainty created by the 2014 referendum could jeopardize future investment plans. (http://scottishutilities.co.uk/news/78.htm). The renewable industry is subsidy driven and subsidy dependent. Subsidy policy is, currently, UK Government policy. But uncertainty of the subsidy policy of a possible independent Scotland is a matter of deep concern to any investor. Spain is in financial crisis. Only last week Ignacio Galán, Chairman of Scottish Power, and its parent Iberdrola, stated his commitment “to sell assets, cut investments and improve efficiency in an effort to reduce debt We are going to revise all of our investments that aren’t already allocated … focusing much more on our debt situation.” It would appear that debt reduction has become the number one priority for Iberdrola-Scottish Power.

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