Posted by: tireecottage | June 20, 2010

Duke Leads Battle for Tiree

From Friday’s Scottish Express, the full article:

A SCOTTISH aristocrat is leading the fight to stop a £6billion wind farm from ruining his island paradise.

Torquhil Ian Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll, is among the growing number of Tiree inhabitants outraged by the plan for the beautiful Hebridean isle. Most of the island’s 800 population were initially enthusiastic about the Scottish Power Renewables development, which could generate power for up to one million homes.

But they have now been told that plans to site 500 giant wind turbines six miles offshore would mean bringing an invasion of hundreds of construction workers and machinery. Single-lane roads with passing places would have to be widened on the island and a new harbour would be built, along with houses for the construction workers and their families.

There would be 60 helicopter movements to and from the local airport every day, while health and education facilities, housing and policing of the island would have to be upgraded. A building the size of a football pitch would also be built to house the electrical connector to the wind turbines.

The Scottish Government has claimed it will consult locals before giving the project the final go-ahead.
But there are fears it will be pushed through by Energy Minister Jim Mather, as part of his flagship green energy policy. Concerns were raised at a meeting on Tuesday when Scottish Power Renewables project manager Ralph Thornton was asked if there was anything that could stop the development.

He replied: “The only thing that could stop it would be the discovery of a species so rare as to be given world or European protection at the site of the proposed wind farm.”

The Duke of Argyll owns much of the 12-mile-by-five-mile outcrop, which enjoys environmentally protected status under EU laws, and he has battled to protect the idyll in the past.

Argyll Estates’ factor Andrew Montgomery last night said: “No one would in their wildest dreams imagine the impact this development will make on Tiree.

“Argyll Estates has a duty of care for the people and for the island itself. The Duke of ­Argyll has serious concerns about the plans, which could destroy the way of life here.

“People come to Tiree for its unspoilt beauty and it would have an enormous impact on our strong tourism industry.”
Islander Allison Maclean said: “No doubt this scheme will be railroaded through in the guise of national necessity.

“Some people will get rich from the construction and the rest of us will suffer.”

The wind farm project is part of a drive by the Scottish Government to have more than 1,000 turbines produce six gigawatts of offshore winds at 10 sites in the seas around Scotland.

The Tiree site, which could generate 1.5 gigawatts, is the largest of the projects, and construction work could start in three years. ScottishPower Renewables said it would “work closely” with the community on the project, which would provide 100 long- term jobs and create clean, green energy for a million homes. Mr Mather said the planning application would be subject to the “fullest possible consultation” by members of the public.

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