Saturday, November 13, 2010

CAMPAIGNERS SAY 'NO' TO TIREE WIND FARM ARRAY

This press release was sent to us by Robert Trythall of Cornaigmore, Tiree. I do not necessarily agree with the views expressed here. Do you agree or disagree? Please feel free to send me your comments.  
       
          Campaigners on the tiny Hebridean island of Tiree have vowed to fight the development of a gigantic windfarm just five kilometres from its pristine shores.  They believe that the island, which is only thirteen miles long, is under serious threat.  This is because not only is the physical fabric of Tiree and its wealth of wildlife in jeopardy, but also the unique nature of its way of life. Tiree is famous for its crime free community, its culture and heritage, its peace and tranquillity and the breathtaking seascapes which attract visitors from all over the world. The weather experts will also tell you that it is well known as one of the sunniest spots in the whole of Britain.
            It is the UK's premier venue for wind and kite surfing and has already held a World Cup event.  International sportsmen and women come every year for the Tiree Wave Classic, which is beamed around the world.    
             Scottish Power Renewables, wholly owned by the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, is planning to develop a massive windfarm three times the size of Tiree and as close as 5 km to its shores.  The windfarm planned by this energy mogul will contain between 200 and 500 turbines, some of them up to 180 metres high.  These come very close in height to that of the famous 'Gherkin' building in the city of London.  Make no mistake, this is a huge development, a monster windfarm which will cast a great shadow over the island, the most westerly of Scotland's Inner Hebrides.
            The plan is to create one of the biggest windfarms in Europe just off Tiree's shores.  The visual impact of these gigantic turbines and the physical destruction brought about by the onshore installations to service them will be enormous.
     Huge ten megawatt turbines will tower over the island's Bein Hynish which, at 141 metres is the highest point on Tiree.  Besides the looming turbines there could be industrial-sized buildings, the permanent loss of familiar landscapes and massive light pollution out to the west which will destroy forever the crystal clear night sky and the glorious Hebridean sunsets which so many people do not have the chance to appreciate anywhere else.
     No other proposed Array in Scotland, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter, will have such a detrimental impact on its proximate community.  The sheer size of the development will engulf its tiny neighbour Tiree and will change the island forever.
      Current group spokesman Robert Trythall said, "This is a real David and Goliath situation, but we have to take a stand against possible irreversible damage to the island and its community." Unlike larger land areas, the island is too small to absorb the social and environmental impact that this proposed development will make.  The magnitude of the planned windfarm is completely out of proportion to the size of the island.
    If future plans to blight the rest of the Western Isles with these giant windfarms are put in place, Tiree may even end up as a 'hub' for the supply and maintenance of other Arrays. Instead of a crofting haven which welcomes windsurfers and tourists it will effectively become nothing more than a much industrialised, wrecked and soul-less piece of real estate in the middle of a giant power station.  This will happen simply because it was conveniently situated at a time when subsidies and profits lured a Spanish multi-national and its subservient Scottish holding, Scottish Power Renewables.
      The 800 residents of Tiree have been given no chance to visualise all this for themselves, for despite repeated requests, Scottish Power Renewables has refused so far to offer any montages showing the visual impact people can expect.
      For many months now there have been discussions amongst all stakeholders about the implications of this for Tiree and its people. Out of these discussions a No Tiree Array group has emerged and a 'whisper of discontent is fast becoming a roar of defiance'. This is not an anti-renewables or anti-green energy campaign. Everyone supports these aims, but not at the expense of small communities who, despite the Scottish Government's much vaunted rhetoric about democracy in decision-making, have little or no say whatsoever in their own future.
                        The decision to place this Array on the Skerryvore Reef and inshore on Tiree is based purely on a thirst for commercial gain and political power, with scant regard for the environmental, socio-economic and cultural impacts on such a small island.  Such disregard sets a very dangerous precedent for other Scottish coastal communities, whose identity and way of life could also be seriously threatened if such windfarms are allowed to go ahead.  Many of the glorious seascapes of the Western Isles could be ruined beyond repair.
            The objectives and strategy of the NO TIREE ARRAY group include a determination to persuade SPR to site the Array much further away from the island.  In most people's judgement, off shore means out of sight out of mind and this was certainly the UK government's intention in the 1990's when it began to build its offshore legislation.
        At that time the Department of Trade and Industry stated that this was achievable 24 km and beyond from the coastline.
     Since then, Scottish National Heritage has insisted that such is the nature of the Scottish seascape the Scottish equivalent ought to be at least 35 km away from land. Indeed Scottish Power Renewables themselves and maritime renewable energy companies in general have acknowledged that research and development is now in process to place huge windfarms in deep water, far away from communities and the coastal environment.
            The NO TIREE ARRAY group wants to persuade SPR to adopt in full its own research and development goals and delay the planning process for the Tiree Array in order to place it and any other proposed Array development completely off shore, which means at least 35 km from the proximate community.
            The group will also require that all associated construction, support, maintenance, operational infrastructure and personnel associated with any Tiree Array development to be placed at least 35 km from the shores of the island. Campaigners want to ensure that these operations do not, at any stage, interface with or impact upon Tiree's unique community, culture or natural environment in any detrimental way.
            The group will lobby all organisations and individuals who directly or indirectly, support the Tiree Array.  These will include, but will not be limited to, the Crown Estate, the Scottish Government, Argyll and Bute Council, Marine Scotland and Scottish Power Renewables.
        It will try to persuade developers and strategists of any 'proposed or existing strategic energy legislation' to create such legislation that operates from the community level upwards.
            It will also consider legal action when and if appropriate.
      As the issues are expanded it will communicate them to supporters and interested parties.  This will ensure all are mutually and consistently well-informed to secure the primary objective, and that is to STOP the destruction of Tiree's community, culture and natural beauty. Unless a brake is put upon windfarm development in Scotland, both offshore, inshore and onshore, Scotland's priceless heritage of wonderful land and seascapes will be lost forever.
            All those who care about Tiree and Scotland are welcome to support the NO TIREE ARRAY group. The island is part of Scotland's heritage and should be seen as something to treasure, not destroy.

WE DO NOT INHERIT THE LAND FROM OUR ANCESTORS; WE BORROW IT FROM OUR CHILDREN.

If you need any more information on the campaign to save the community, culture, heritage and environment of the Isle of Tiree, call Robert Trythall on 01879 220646, or e-mail him atrobtrythall@gmail.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Gordon,

I came across your blog by googling 'Tiree Array'... Thanks for posting this news. The proposed project looks indeed plain scary and a blatant offense to Tiree as far as I'm concerned!

You might be interested to publish the following information for the sake of completeness... the 'No' group now has a website:

www.no-tiree-array.co.uk

Thanks!