More Wind Turbine Comments

wind array

There has been quite a furor created over the proposed Argyll Array project, both in the comments here on the website, and in the paper edition of An Tirisdeach. Here are some of the latest letters sent to the editor:

From Tiree Community Development Trust

Following the public meeting on 15th June at which the scale of the proposed wind farm off Tiree was discussed,Tiree Community Development Trust would like to thank all the members and residents who attended and all the off-islanders who also contributed.

In particular, we would like to thank Ralph Thornton and Morna Cannon from Scottish Power Renewables, who faced some hard questioning and did their best to answer openly and candidly, even when they knew they would get a hostile reaction.

The Trust would now like to ask anyone who is interested to join an informal group to discuss in more detail some of the main issues. The group will advise the Trust as it builds its negotiations with the developers and the Government. What we are looking for is a relatively large and broadly representative group that can meet for about two hours every two weeks or so to discuss a single topic each time and arrive at an agreed position on that topic.
For instance, one week we might be discussing the hopes and concerns we have about impact on housing, the following meeting could discuss harbour developments, then noise/disturbance and so on.

There will be an initial meeting on 4th August at An Talla at 7.30pm for people to come along and express the support they can give, and define the detail of how the group will work. Please come along to that meeting if you feel you can contribute. If you would like to be involved but can’t get to the meeting please email Lloyd (lloyd@tireetrust.org.uk) with ARRAY STRATEGY GROUP as the subject.

From Alison Brown

Dear Sir,
The Wind Turbine Project Let the Government know what YOU think!

As individuals, we can inform the Government what we think about its Draft Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters. This is the plan that will affect Tiree. The Trust is making its own submission. But the public – and that means each and every one of us who cares about this issue – is invited to do the same. Responses must be made by the 16th August to: Offshore Wind Consultation, Marine Scotland, Area 1-A (South), Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ, Tel: 0131 244 1617 Or by email to: offshorewindconsultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

All responses have to be considered and replied to. You can see the Draft Plan, and the accompanying Strategic Environmental Report (SEA) that you are responding to on the Government Website: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/05/19103706 follow the links to give you the background information you need.

We have to start at the beginning of what will be a long process involving commitment from all of us who care about the issue, whatever our individual views. But that’s how democracy works.

Alison Brown

From Kate Macallum

Dear Editor,
My apologies for not clearly stating my point regarding proposed off shore turbines. At this point in time I am neither for or against the development. What I am against is accepting change for the island solely based upon a government agenda to introduce renewable energy which in the form of wind farms has yet to be proven efficient.

I am also aware of the vast profits to be made and I would like the island to be the main benefactor. As for Tilley I am safe in the knowledge that every penny that comes from the turbine will be ploughed straight back into the community.

With local government slashing services in education and care for the elderly this funding stream maybe the only way we can maintain services. Public funding for development projects is also getting harder to access so thank goodness for Tilley for the youth workers and lunch clubs of the future.

Kate Maccallum.

One More From Tiree Community Development Trust

Dear An Tirisdeach,
Change comes to us all, wherever we live (your report 5th July). Tiree is facing virtually unprecedented change and should the massive proposed wind farm be built just off our shores we, our children and our grandchildren will have to live with the consequences.

We called the public meeting last month to give our community the chance to hear about just how big the impacts might be, and we were pleased to welcome a number of off-islanders to that meeting too, all of whom made useful contributions to the discussion.

The key to our future came when one resident asked the developers if local objection could stop the project going ahead and we were told that no, it probably couldn’t. For us this makes it clear: our job now is to fight for the best interests of the current and future community of Tiree. We have to ensure that if the development does go ahead Tiree benefits as much as possible from it, while also minimising the negative impacts.

A local crofter pointed out at the meeting that the communities of Shetland did not set their faces against the inevitable construction of oil terminals at Sullum Voe; rather, they purposefully and deliberately entered into negotiations with the developers to ensure that community interests were met. They drove a hard bargain, and as a consequence have done well. We intend to do the same.

We understand that holiday-makers, some of whom have been coming to Tiree for years, generations even, will be aghast at the proposed scale of the development. We are, too. We also know that many holiday-makers come here year after year because they love the community of Tiree as much as the physical and natural environment. We ask that they now support us in determining for ourselves what our interests are, and that they support us in fighting for those interests. In fact, we ask everyone who cares about us to do the same: we need your support.

For us now, the fact that this is going to be a wind farm is almost irrelevant. For us what matters is that it is going to be very big and reach every part of what we do and who we are. This could be good: new jobs, housing, better roads and harbours, more young people staying on the island, more islanders returning, more choices. It could also be bad: noise, pollution, crime, disturbance, visual impacts, loss of biodiversity and a loss of the Tiree way of doing things, including our thriving crofting, fishing and tourism sectors. It seems that many people are worried on our behalf, and we thank them for that. The best way for people to help us through this is to get behind us.

In the first instance, go to our website (tireetrust.org) for general information and feel free to contact us with messages of support.

We now have to get through several years of hard bargaining with the developers and the Scottish Government, and knowing that lots of ordinary people, people just like us, are supporting us will help enormously.

Yours faithfully,
The Board of the Tiree Community Development Trust

4 comments

  • Hi,
    Please could you correct the link to the document referenced in Alison Brown’s message, the URL is incorrect.
    Thanks,
    Lorna Hughes

  • Oops, sorry about that Lorna. Had an extraneous space in there.
    All fixed now!

  • The ‘wind of change is shaking the barley’ and this time around it is time to reap the harvest.

    “A corn sheaf to its band in a Norseman’s (aka developers) stomach“.

    A plagiarised reflection on ‘Tir fo Thuinn (or Tiree) Array’
    Scottish Power Renewables planned 500 + turbine development to be built 5 km off our island, WILL need major facilities on the island, an offshore transformer base is not economically viable especially is expansion is foreseen There will also be land based development for the construction phase etc, etc. We will be looking at new roads, a small vessel support harbour, homes for workers, and a massive building to house the transformer base (which no doubt is planned to be modular so that the future expansion of the windfarm can be accommodated) oh and something like 60+ clattering helicopter trips a day (H&S exposure hours regulations will not allow flights from another base if there is a closer alternative ie: Tiree airport).

    Alongside these major changes there will have to be the upgrading of police, health and education services to support the increase of population during the establishment and running of the Tiree Array (it’s a legal requirement). Tirisdeachs are concerned (bit of an understatement but politically acceptable in these times) – with the impact on the culture and lifestyle of the island. This will be a if not handled properly a machine-world invasion (cultural genocide): think Avatar but swop the lush jungle for our windswept, almost treeless island, white sand beaches, surf, machair and corncrakes in flag iris beds.

    Whether you share these concerns or not, there now exists the situation that drives the blood pressure into the stratosphere. At the public meeting in An Talla, ScottishPower Renewables project leader, delivered the flat reality. ‘Islanders can protest and object all they like but nothing – bar the discovery of the presence of some wildly unique and protected species on the site of the offshore installation – can stop the development’. Nothing !
    Consents are controlled by the Scottish Government not the local authority and the deal is already done. The sham of public consultation being funded and carried out when the outcome, whatever it is, is irrelevant, it is an irresponsible and counter-productive democratic deficit.
    The human response to being told that there is nothing you can do is:

    ‘Watch me’. And so it should be.

    This fearful Stalinist approach apart, there are a lot of us who live or have a vested interest in the island who should reflect upon the past before they set their faces against the coming of this project. Tiree really has been here before but without a voice (WWII is not in question we played our part then too)

    When Stevenson built the Skerryvore Lighthouse, the most perfect in the world, over a six year period from 1838 to 1844 and 13 miles out in the Atlantic to the south west of the island, he also needed a land base on Tiree. Hynish was built to service the marine traffic generated by this awesome project. Cottages for the keepers and a tall granite tower to enable signaling to and from Skerryvore .The magnificent pier, now half buried in the fine white sand of the beach, still stand; and the buildings beside the pier house a heritage centre.

    You can see where we’re I’m with this.

    Imagine the impact of this massive industrial enterprise on the folk of Tiree in mid 19th century. The shock waves would have been the same and the counter argument probably not from a ‘select privileged few’ dissimilar. Stevenson felt that the incessant activity of the project would be a relief from what he imagined was the ‘desolation and misery ‘of the islanders’ normal lives.

    The upgrading of the island’s infrastructure and essential services can provide a legacy for the future of the residents. Tiree is already nervous about the possible closure of its school – a virtual death warrant for any remote community. Here, in this project, is a medium term protection for the school which it would be madness to reject. We have needed maritime infrastructure for decades, a couple more playgrounds for the children, a decent foot path for pushchairs from Pier View to Scarinish, a better retirement home, help for Hotel businesses etc, etc.

    My advice to Tiree is to oppose the project with as much inventive bloody-mindedness, stubbornness and obstructionism as possible, teaching the Stalinists who say our views are irrelevant that people (and especially Tiree people) cannot be treated like this. Every time they have to re-apply for a submission, every time we write to a paper, every time we use the web, every time we broadcast to the world, every time we delay them we are costing them money, every time we chip away at SPR’s corporate image we cast them money, every poster, bumper sticker, flier, t-shirt; we cost them money and damage their corprate image.

    Determined and obstructive opposition can indeed make a difference. We use the bargaining chips gained from this pressure to ensure that whatever structures are built on the island are planned for the long term benefit of the island, are of good quality, design, aesthetic impact and durability. These buildings can be a legacy, making a continuing contribution to the island’s economic development – provided that their later role and function beyond the project is a real planning consideration from the outset. We tell them not only what we need but what we want.

    It is also not unreasonable at this stage for the community, the affected community i.e.: US to expect an ongoing financial reward which they can write off in their projections say 10% of the profit. We are after all the only stakeholders globally who will lose anything. This stakeholder’s percentage should be written into governmental legislation so that other communities affected by offshore/inshore/onshore wind developments can milk that corporate cow, yet another positive legacy Tiree can generate.
    We must all play our part in negotiate the major ‘planning gain benefits’ for our community and our unique way of life, we are more than entitled to our slice of the pie.
    Then we will enjoy the benefits, and they will be very considerable, but only if we stand together like ‘Fionn and Duorglas. We won’t have been defeated. We would have won hands down.
    Civil disobedience is a great communal sport.
    Carpe Diem.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

    At a time when much of the UK will be going backwards here is a golden opportunity for Tiree to go forwards.
    Let’s start now, when we have something positive to say about the array ‘We are of one opinion that the project should be referred to as the ‘Tir fo Thuinn(or Tiree) Array’ anytime we have something to say detrimental about the project it will be referred to as the Argyll Array, changing the paperwork alone should cost them a few hundred man hours.

    Regards gloves off.
    Offshore View

  • Wow, what a long comment above from Offshore View.
    Of course this is a big deal fro Tiree and it’s inhabitants. It needs to be planned and thought through carefully to maximise the benefits for islanders and minimise the unwanted effects. But realistically, from a mainland perspective, you have to let this go ahead in some form or other. get on board and make it work for you. No man is an island in this world. When Tiree needs 21st century assistance for transport, food, health, welfare , defence (the list goes on) the mainland is here to provide. The mainland has tolerated open cast mining, coal fired power stations, nuclear power stations ( and dumping grounds for spent fuel) and is reaching saturation point with on-shore wind. We are the ones who need help now and I think we have to work together on this. You are massively out-voted and not yet an independant , self- sufficient country!

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