Your letters to The Buteman: May 8, 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.

After the high-tempo debate of the General Election campaign, it seems from our latest crop of readers’ letters that thoughts are quickly turning to more local issues.

Wind farm and aquaculture developments are among the subjects covered in our May 8 issue as early proposals by the Scottish Salmon Company and a planning application by Bute Community Power Ltd both come under the spotlight.

If you’d like to see your views appear in a future print edition of The Buteman, email news@buteman.com by 5pm on Monday at the latest. Please include your name and postal address for publication; we also need a daytime phone number in case we need to contact you at short notice to check any details, though this will not be printed.

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Negative letters don’t help parties’ cases

I enjoyed Craig Borland’s editorial column (May 1) in which he encouraged readers to think and to act positively with regards to this week’s general election.

But, oh dear, every letter in that same issue focussing on the election, was extremely negative and afforded little charity to any candidate not of the writer’s political persuasion.

I was able to understand what three of the writers were saying; the writer of the fourth letter was trying to be so clever I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. Perhaps that was due to my age!

Thankfully, by the time this letter is published the campaigning will be over. Let’s hope we all try to be positive - yes, and charitable - with regard to the outcome.

Eleanor Black, 4 St Andrew’s Walk, Rothesay

Salmon farm company is ‘love bombing’

The Scottish Salmon Company’s ongoing ‘love-bombing’ of Bute drags me wearily to the keyboard. Do we have to go through all this again?

The statement from Mr Anderson, in your April 17 issue, that the company was ‘not aware’ until recently of the previous application, which led to the first ever public enquiry into a fish farm application and refusal of permission, does not bode well.

He has claimed to be “open and honest” but I understand that he was made fully aware of the previous application when he met with the Clyde Fishermen’s Association several months ago.

I don’t doubt for a moment that as a successful businessman, Mr Anderson has not read the outcomes of the public inquiry; hence the love-bombing.

The “drop-in events” and the mythology of job creation are the same old honey traps to divert us from the destruction of what we must protect at all costs; a pristine, unchanging coastline and precious beaches.

Let’s face it; the industry that has the best hope of securing meaningful jobs is the tourist business, now hoping to reap the benefits of RET after a long period of recession.

The two locations he speaks of planting his waterborne cash-cows almost beggar belief.

One is beside the beginning of the southern route of the West Island Way to Glencallum Bay; probably one of the most beautiful stretches of the walk.

The other is amid an historic landscape near to the ancient Columbian settlements and chapels of Inchmarnock and the Straad peninsulas.

Both are near two of the finest beaches on the island, one of which already has been blighted by rotting seaweed, while the other strives each year to attain Green Flag status.

Remember, sewage and other wastes from salmon farming causes far-reaching environmental harm by contaminating the sea-bed and its shellfish species, contributing to the antibiotic resistance of shellfish and wild fish, and causing oxygen depletion that triggers toxic algal blooms.

The accumulation of sewage on the seafloor under and around salmon farms directly harms marine biodiversity.

Scientists in Scotland, Norway, Ireland, and Canada have all shown that some of these effects may last several years and extend for several hundred meters away from salmon farm.

The effluent can be carried along the coast by the tides to be deposited on shallow-sloping beaches by a phenomenon known as longshore drift; how beaches are formed in the first place.

Even industry insiders concede that a typical 200,000-fish salmon farm releases nitrogen equal to 20,000 humans, phosphorus equal to 25,000 humans, and faecal matter roughly equivalent to a city of 65,000 people.

That’s the combined sewage output of Perth and Peterhead!

We can be sure the good people of Kilchattan Bay, and those who so actively opposed the last venture, will galvanise to prevent this attempt to establish salmon farms in the Clyde estuary and the Kyles.

Bute is beautiful, with varied and stunning seascapes; let’s fight to keep it that way.

Jim S. Mitchell, St Ninian’s Cottage, Straad

Help sought with Bute’s triathlon

Through your pages the organisers of the forthcoming Isle of Bute Triathlon Series are appealing for help with the condition of the island roads for Sunday, May 10.

In particular we will be using the B881/A844 road up from Rothesay Leisure Pool as far as the turn-off for St Blane’s Chapel, on both sides.

This request relates mostly to the various forms of `cycling hazards’ that tend to feature outside some farm or field exits: muck, rocks etc.

Bute is generally a fantastic location for road racing, but this is one issue that can be a cause for concern. Again, we would be very grateful for any help with this, for this date. Any queries, please contact me on (01700) 503011.

Murray Doyle, 30 Shore Road, Port Bannatyne

Wind turbines threaten Bute’s beauty

The first ten years of my life, growing up in Bute, has shaped my character in a way that few other events have done.

It made me aware that the environment around us affects our thoughts and feelings, and in consequence those of others.

This sense of community has always been strong here, and underpins so much of what is good on the island.

You see this in the support for Calum’s Cabin, the charity shops and food bank, the advice centre and all the many other activities run by volunteers.

We are rightly proud of our generous, caring island community.

Why then do I feel uncertain about Bute Community Power’s proposals for two wind turbines at Auchintirrie?

Most of us want to conserve energy. My husband and I certainly do, and have insulated our home, and try not to waste power.

Perhaps the reason for unease is that our compact beautiful island is our strongest asset in attracting tourists. Anything that adversely affects that unspoiled beauty must be questioned.

These turbines will stand upon a two-metre foundation of concrete, 47 metres (more than 154 feet) high on the top of a hill ridge.

This in a farming area of verdant rolling hills and valley. The turbines, in sight and sound, would be visible from one of our principal tourist beaches – Ettrick Bay.

Of course my husband and I will see and hear the turbines clearly, but so will many others. The size of the island means that we are all affected by changes to its environment.

These hills and valleys have been here for countless years, and our recent Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme only enhanced our countryside.

Let us keep that unique characteristic of the place and people which we hold so dear. Beauty and tranquillity are scarce commodities in this materialistic 21st century.

Let us not squander them, so that we can pass these treasures on to future islanders.

Jennifer Sutcliffe, Upper Ardroscadale, Rothesay

Reasons to object to turbine plans

Working on the “it’s a good day to bury bad news” theory the local ‘community’ wind farm people have timed their planning application to erect a couple of 47 metre turbines (that’s the height of a 15 floor apartment block: they will be the two largest structures on Bute!) while our attention is entirely focused on the general election.

These turbines are completely inappropriate crap. Don’t let them get away with it.

If you are even remotely interested in the future variability of our island community and feel tourism is essential to our future prosperity, as well as being concerned by the current haemorrhaging of residents, do not ignore this letter.

Go to the council web page and register your opposition. Do it today; before it is too late. If you don’t object now we’ll be stuck with these things forever! And this will be the thin edge of a very large wedge.

The address for lodging your objections is http://pa2.argyll-bute.gov.uk/online-applications/ and enter 15/00951/PP in the ‘search’ field. Or see the ad in last week’s Buteman.

Below are my reasons for objecting. If you agree with any of them, please feel free to copy any of this letter into your own objection.

I object in the strongest terms to these turbines for the following reasons:

This island community relies almost entirely on tourism for its survival and nowhere on the planet are wind turbines considered to be a tourist attraction.

Tourism for Bute is the local economy’s very lifeblood. Without it, the already problematic depopulation will gather momentum. If it reaches a critical tipping point there could be no going back for a generation.

This installation poses a direct and material threat not only to our way of life, but to the very existence of a variable population on Bute.

Even the supporters will admit there is a risk involved and they say it is only a question of balance.

I fundamentally disagree with this; there is no balance to be struck. Any future benefits (and these are mere speculation) to the community are more than wiped out by the potential risk.

The current situation is so sensitive that, any threat of any kind cannot be justified or countenanced.

Tony Burns, 10 The Terrace, Ardbeg