Ascog wind mast applicant sets out his position

THE man behind the application for a 50-metre wind monitoring mast at Ascog farm has set out his stall after our report in last Thursday’s Buteman on local concern at the plans.

Through Adrian Tear’s agent, Gillane Mallia, we asked for information on the mast itself, its puropse and whether, as one objector suggested, it would be a precursor to a large-scale commercial wind farm on the site.

Mr Tear told us he and his wife, Elspeth McVey, had been working with the Scottish Agricultural College on the feasibility of renewable power generation – an option many farmers in Scotland, the UK, Europe and beyond are exploring – at their farm behind Ascog.

In a letter to be published in this week’s Buteman, Mr Tear says it could be feasible to site up to three ‘mid-size’ turbines at the 150-acre farm, which, in his words, “could notionally power around two thirds of the households on Bute”.

Mr Tear’s letter also states the mast application should be judged on its own merit, “since any future application for turbines can only be made in the light of a detailed EIA [environmental impact assessment], which has not yet been completed.

In his letter Mr McTear also says he plans to work with Fyne Futures’ Towards Zero Carbon Bute project if the proposals receive planning permission.

“Revenue from the project - which would amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds over its lifespan - will thus flow back to other community green/renewable projects on Bute over a substantial time period hopefully lowering overall greenhouse gas emissions and leading to a better quality of life for locals and visitors alike.

“From our own perspective the revenue raised will help to keep the family farm in business, pay for the upkeep of land and buildings (also helping the contractors and companies we use and more generally the Bute economy) and may open up opportunities for further investment.

“Our intention to partner with a local organisation, and the scale of the operation, thus contrasts rather favourably with the sort of ‘commercial wind farm’ that the ‘concerned members of the public’ allude to.

“Turbines provide a proven and trusted method of generating electricity using the wind that blows over our heads. Yes, they don’t work all the time. Yes, we could probably never have a system of power generation that relied on them exclusively.

“However, every bit helps. If something better comes along (Hunterston C or D? Nuclear fusion? Tidal that works?) they can be unscrewed, removed and they’re gone - unlike most other generating capacity, and most unlike nuclear, our other near neighbour on the west coast of Scotland.

“At this stage we only have a planning application for a temporary meteorological mast. As I mention, other research work is under way.

“Once this has been drawn together we intend to run a conference to present our findings and outline our plans in more detail. This will provide a wealth of scientific data and information on which the merits of the scheme and any future planning application for turbines may be judged.”

Mr Tear’s letter will be published in full in the next issue of The Buteman, on sale on Thursday, August 4.