Your letters to The Buteman: May 22, 2015

Send your letters to the editor to news@buteman.com. Please include your name and address for publication.
Send your letters to the editor to news@buteman.com. Please include your name and address for publication.

Opposition to Bute Community Power’s Auchintirrie wind turbine proposals continues to dominate The Buteman’s letters page this week.

To have your say on this, or any other issue of local interest, email your thoughts to news@buteman.com by 5pm on Monday at the latest.

Please remember to include your name and address for publication alongside your letter. We also require a daytime telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be printed.

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Who says money doesn’t grow on trees?

Here we go again – yet another scheme for the salvation of Bute/Scotland, not only reducing “carbon footprint” but providing substantial income for the “wider community”.

Who says money doesn’t grow on trees – providing they are wind turbine-shaped?

Unfortunately, against this utopian prospect there are a few significant elephants in the room.

Most immediately obvious is the truly massive visual impact these turbines would create across a large part of the island and its approaches. To confirm this you need only look at the “zone of theoretical visibility” included in the supporting documentation.

Alternatively, look at the remarks of the consultant chartered landscape architect recruited by the developers and incorporated in the Environmental Document about the significant impact on “Viewpoint 6” – Ettrick Bay: “…users along the beach would experience open views of the turbines on the nearby skyline… they would introduce a major visual focus to the setting of the bay competing with views out to sea. The turbines would also be back lit on the open skyline…” He makes similar remarks on many other selected island viewpoints.

I would add that the document appears to make no reference to the point that the turbines are moving objects and that this would serve to amplify visual impact as compared with a similarly sized stationary object.

Noise could also be an issue for local residents. The document admits that in modelling noise impact no attempt has been made to reflect the funnelling effect of local contours, and no attempt is made to model the infrasound which together with the pulsating nature of turbine generated noise give rise to many complaints of health impact in other locations.

Should the project proceed, apart from reduced tourist trade, it is possible that as elsewhere, property values could suffer some reduction. The financial impacts could appreciably outweigh the “wider community” income.

I hope you will feel the need to protect our precious island environment from this attack, and will like me object to Argyll and Bute Council planning, either by letter, or by googling Argyll-Bute Planning Simple Search and using the search term ‘Auchentirrie’.

Dr Harry Reid, Millburn Cottage, Ascog

Turbine plans must be denied

Bute’s heritage is the whole island of Bute, including its skyline.

The proposed wind turbine development at Auchintirrie farm claims to be for the benefit of the wider community.

Commercially built wind turbines have never been, and will never be, an economically viable proposition without generous subsidy paid for by electricity users. This makes the future of any turbine project dependant on continued political support for loading this cost upon consumers.

These turbines will only feed into the grid – they will not store or convert their output, nor can they be used when there is no wind or when there is a power cut to the island. But they will always be visible on our skyline.

Bute depends upon tourism for the viability of its infrastructure. So it would be an act of madness to risk the very future of an island whose economic existence could be damaged by selling its heritage for a mess of pottage.

2008: A Scottish Government-commissioned report in 2008, The Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism, showed that wind farm developments have a minimal impact on tourism ‘provided they are not visible from important tourism corridors’.

The whole of Bute is an important tourist corridor. In my opinion this proposal must be denied.

Paul McKay, Tigh-na-Ceol, Kingarth

Turbines ‘an eyesore’

It is well intentioned to oppose the wind turbines at Auchentirrie because they will despoil the landscape. They will be an eyesore. They will threaten tourism. They will damage Bute as a place to live. But under current planning regulations the above (and many other perfectly reasonable objections) are not grounds which Argyll and Bute Council are legally bound to take into consideration when granting planning permission.

Only “Material Considerations” are grounds for opposing a wind farm. For clarity I will list the kind of things which would get the project halted. If the wind turbines affect TV signals, mobile phone reception or jam ships’ radar, the application will be turned down. If the site damages drainage, create effluents that would affect rivers or lochs, or damage fishing, the wind farm will not go ahead. If the turbines adversely affect migratory birds, or disturb any protected species of insects or animals -it will not get to the starting blocks. If the Auchentirrie development will block local roads with traffic or place a burden on the sewage system, or strain the electricity system, it will not get the a green light.

So if people wish to oppose the 47-metre windmills they must do more than cite how much of an eyesore they will be. Objectors must be specific about the “material considerations” . There are no other grounds on which to oppose the wind farm through the planning process.

Peter Slepokura, 5 The Terrace, Ardbeg

Turbines ‘a goldrush’

I am very concerned about a precedent being set should permission be granted for the two very large turbines at Auchintirrie farm. (The height of the Statue of Liberty above its pedestal.) My understanding is that it is the avowed policy of Zero Carbon Bute to set up as many of these as the island can take for so called “community benefit”.

This island is small and relatively low-lying (think of the view from Wemyss Bay) and cannot absorb what could be increasing numbers of large wind turbines. The core industry of the island is tourism and no tourist ever made their way to an island that looked like a porcupine from across the water!

The soft beauty, unspoilt nature and tranquillity of this beautiful island is its prime asset – and its main hope for the future. (Would we open a gravel quarry on the Esplanade for “community benefit?”)

Wind turbines do not stack up financially. We, the tax payers, subsidise them, and a tariff is added to every electricity bill. They are simply yet another “gold rush” and their appearance destroys more than they can save.

The island needs real jobs, based on sound and suitable developments. That would be a real community benefit.

I urge readers to halt this by objecting on the Argyll and Bute Council planning website.

Lorna Mitchell, St Ninian’s Cottage, Straad

Thanks for donations

The local committee of Cancer Research UK is very grateful for the following recent donations:

‘In memory of my husband, William, from Isa - £20’

‘In memory of Papa, from Lewis and Ryan - £20’

Collection taken at Isy Robb’s funeral - £96’

Customers of:

Jessmay’s - £24.96; Dil’s Newsagents - £17.48; Cellar No. 1 - £22.23; Co-op (Bridge St) - £43.99; Electric Bakery - £55.81; Richard McIntyre’s - £44.68; Victorian Toilets - £40.63; Rothesay Golf Club shop - £25.90; Londis - £25.45; saved pennies - £1.59; 20p tubes filled by Jenny B. and Betty M. - £20.80.

Fiona Martin (donations secretary), 4 Caledonia Walk, Rothesay

Thank you for fashion show support

The Bute Branch of Macmillan Cancer Support wish to thank everyone who contributed to another successful fundraising event - our fashion show on Friday, May 8.

Special thanks must go to Kathleen and Marion of Glens for organising the fashion show, the ladies who modelled the clothes very professionally and the 292 Club for once again allowing us to hold an event there. The great sum of £701 was raised during the evening; our grateful thanks to everyone who came along and supported us yet again.

Elena Anderson (Secretary, Bute branch of Macmillan Cancer Support), 19 Craigmore Road, Rothesay

Fish farm ‘not wanted’

As one of Bute’s long-standing tourists, I was heartened to read Jim S. Mitchell’s excellent letter of May 8 setting out so clearly the strong case against fish farms near the Straad and Glencallum Bay. A fish farm blighting either of these beautiful, unspoilt locations would be disastrous.

My family returns to Bute for our holidays as we love the island. (Indeed, my mother has been coming to Rothesay since 1929.) Last month, as we were paddling at St Ninian’s Bay in the warm afternoon sunshine, I thought it was one of the loveliest places on Earth.

I feel sure that the readers of The Buteman will never permit their spectacular beaches, including the tourist attraction of Ettrick Bay, to be polluted with such concentrated levels of faecal waste from salmon that Mr Mitchell describes.

Although we live in Oxfordshire, we get The Buteman sent down each week and we look forward to seeing in your pages that the fish farm applications have been refused, just like they were before. May history repeat itself!

Alana Dickinson, Holly Tree House, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Wallingford