Bute Community Power’s application to build two wind turbines at the island’s Auchintirrie farm dominates the letters page in the May 15 issue of The Buteman.
Also featured are ‘thank you’ messages from the organisers of the island’s jazz festival and triathlon, and from Alan Reid, whose 14-year term as Argyll and Bute’s Liberal Democrat MP was ended by the SNP’s Brendan O’Hara at last week’s general election.
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‘Wind turbines are an attraction’
In last week’s paper, asking people to oppose the wind power project at Auchentirrie, Mr Tony Burns gave as a reason for so doing that ‘nowhere on the planet are wind turbines considered to be a tourist attraction’.
That statement is incorrect.
Worldwide there are a number of windfarms which attract large numbers of visitors. One is quite near here – the Whitelee Wind Farm on Eaglesham Moor. Between its opening in 2009 and 2012 it had 250,000 visitors, and it is now a member of the Scottish Association of Visitor Centres.
The evidence regarding the economic impact of wind farms arising via effects on tourism is mixed, but there is no support for the wild claims made by Mr Burns. There is no reason to believe that the Auchentirrie project represents, as Mr Burns claims, a threat to ‘the very existence of a viable population on Bute’. Given its nature and location, its impact on tourism to Bute is most likely to be zero.
Mick Common, Park Cottage, Upper Quay St, Port Bannatyne
Turbine development is ‘a disgrace’
I refer to the Auchentirrie Farm wind turbine project.
Firstly, the supporting environmental document for this project shows that Scotland has 5.1 GW of installed onshore wind generating capacity compared to a government target of approximately 9.5 GW, using this to justify the project as an integral part of government planning.
However, the correct situation is that Scotland will shortly have 9.5 GW of generating capacity (due to the under construction and already planning approved projects) and therefore the government success in pursuit of an energy policy based entirely (100 per cent) on renewables has been considerably undersold.
Although a laudable achievement, in which Scotland stands alone in the world, too much of a good thing can result in quite unexpected consequences.
Indeed, if such projects as Auchentirrie Farm continue to be approved, the situation could easily result in subsidy payments for energy generation from wind growing out of control - and thereby imposing a great financial burden on vulnerable consumers.
That such uncontrolled development is actively discouraged by government policy is shown by the Scottish Planning Policy quote given on page 20 of the above document: “the planning system should support the transformational change to a low carbon economy, consistent with national objectives and targets”.
So considering all approvals have been made for the achievement of the national objectives and targets the Auchentirrie project cannot be considered part of Scottish Planning Policy, but rather part of an alarming and dangerous trend towards uncontrolled development.
Secondly, the environmental support document offers a singularly myopic viewpoint of the benefits of visitors to Ettrick Bay when it states: “The main beneficiary from visitors to the bay is the owner of the Ettrick Bay Tearoom, who has recently become a member of BCP in support of the wind turbine project.”
Of course the main beneficiary of visitors to the Bay is not the tearoom but the visitors themselves, and while their enjoyment of the Bay and its associated views may or may not include a visit to the tearoom, it is my firm opinion that spoiling these views will not only discourage visitors from coming to these beauty spots, but to a certain extent from coming, or returning, to the island in the first place.
The risk to the real tourist economy of the island, which results from visitors using our fine guest houses, taverns, restaurants and other amenities, cannot be underestimated. It would be negligence of the highest order if the investments and livelihoods of hard working residents in this sector were put in such risk.
As a final point I feel it a disgrace that we are once again presented with such an unjustifiable and unsuitable development being dressed up as a community development project. A shame on those involved.
Michael Burke, Ascog Hall, Ascog
‘Save beautiful Bute for future generations’
Last week on a visit to Dundee my husband and I met two ladies from Canada. When I told them we were from Bute and had lived here all our lives, one remarked on how lucky we were to live in such an awesome place.
To say this lady was impressed with the island of Bute is an understatement. I came away with a spring in my step hearing such glowing reports of my beautiful homeland.
On returning home I read the two letters about the wind turbines in The Buteman by Jennifer Sutcliffe and Tony Burns. I wholeheartedly agree with their opinions.
Living so long on the island I have seen many changes and as part of the ‘Walk About’ team I felt privileged taking visitors around our town - even when it was in an upheaval during renovation to the pier and the then ‘new building’ in Victoria Street was being built (The Buteman office is on this site).
At that time I was ever grateful, and still am, to the parks department for the beautiful conditions of our gardens. I would then take visitors on to the prom to see the sweep of sweet Rothesay Bay and the magnificence of our scenery.
Do I think these huge wind turbines are an asset to our island? No. Would I vote to have these blots on our landscape? No. Please, save beautiful Bute for future generations.
Catherine McCombe, 12 Marine Place, Ardbeg
Bute triathlon a success story once again
The organisers of this year’s Isle of Bute Triathlon would like to express sincere thanks to all who helped with this year’s event.
Many thanks to all the following: Christie and Co. once again for the superb scaffold bike-rack; all the swimming pool staff for their assistance and patience; Ian Thomson and the roads department for their terrific support, and the farms for help with the roads; the local police for assistance with the event; Scottish Water for bottled water; the Scottish Co-operative for some catering donations; Roger and the cadets for First Aid cover; and of course a massive thanks to all the people who gave their time to help with the lane-counting and marshalling and food on the day.
Murray Doyle, 33 Shore Road, Port Bannatyne
Jazz festival organiser pays tribute
Another wonderful Isle of Bute Jazz Festival is over but it could not have succeeded without the vital voluntary support of so many in our community.
First of all a very big thank you to our courageous Parade Marshall, Jenny Brown, who we understand discharged herself from hospital so that she could be with us to lead the Brolly Parade. That speaks volumes for Jenny and her support of the Festival over so many years.
We wish also to thank our Festival Friends who give generously in support of the event - and while mentioning funding, our gratitude must also be extended to Argyll and Bute Council which has renewed our Service Level Agreement grant funding, and the Rothesay Common Good Fund for providing us with much needed additional revenue.
Also we are extremely grateful to the many unsung back room boys and girls - and in particular to the Rotary Club of Rothesay and the Bute County Cricket Club, who put in long hours at the Festival shop in Guildford Square; as ticket checkers at the venues, and who put up and took down our signs. We hope you can help us again next year, and encourage your friends to lend a hand so that the workload on you can be eased.
Police Scotland is due our thanks for ensuring safe passage along and across the roads for the Parade procession and thank you too to the council’s roads department for the supply of cones to mark out the Brolly Parade display area,
Caledonian MacBrayne has extended the hand of friendship with additional help with transportation costs under the Calmac Culture banner and assisting with our marketing via their website, gestures we very much appreciate.
The Co-op came up trumps by again providing refreshments for our Friends Reception at the Pavilion, and whilst mentioning the Pavilion, the staff at all the venues we use in Rothesay have helped us enormously, even doing some ticket checking themselves when the committee had no-one available, so thanks to all of you.
Of course the Festival could not succeed without you the, members of the public buying tickets and attending performances. Thanks for supporting us and we hope you enjoyed yourselves.
Last but not least the musicians and bands, as music is what it’s all about. Many have been in touch with us saying how much they enjoyed coming to Rothesay and playing for you.
Tim Saul (chairman, Isle of Bute Jazz Festival), 40 Ardmory Road, Rothesay
‘A privilege to serve Argyll and Bute’
It has been a privilege to represent Argyll and Bute in Parliament for fourteen years and I would like to thank the people of the constituency for electing me on three occasions.
I have very much enjoyed the challenge of representing this wonderful constituency with its many communities, each with its own unique set of issues.
People in Argyll and Bute are very community spirited and I found great satisfaction working with many community groups to help them achieve their objectives. I have made many friends throughout the constituency.
I thank everybody who voted for me at the recent election, and although more people voted for me than in 2010, I am disappointed that this was not enough to retain the seat.
I also thank the many people who gave me valuable support and advice over the past fourteen years. I congratulate Brendan O’Hara on his election and wish him all the best in his new job representing Argyll and Bute in the House of Commons.
Alan Reid, 136 Fairhaven, Kirn
Sad farewell to Caroline’s Salon
After 31 years in business it saddens us to have to say farewell to Caroline’s Salon.
To allow customers, friends and family the opportunity to say farewell we are hosting an event in Caroline’s name. Please come along to Caroline’s Salon on Saturday, May 23, and help us raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and enjoy coffee and delicious home-baked cakes from 10am to 2pm, or if you prefer, cheese and wine from 5pm to 9pm. If you enjoy good home-baking and a glass of wine in the evening we would be delighted to see you at both events.
Many thanks to everyone for their kind words and support over recent months, it is very much appreciated
The Pellegrotti family, 54b Crichton Road, Rothesay