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 (email@example.com) with ARRAY STRATEGY GROUP as the subject.
From Alison Brown
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
From Kate Macallum
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.
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.
The Board of the Tiree Community Development Trust