Published: 18/06/2010 in Press & Journal
The idyllic way of life of residents on Tiree would be shattered by a £6billion offshore windfarm development, according to objectors. Islanders are bracing themselves for the possible arrival of hundreds of construction workers and machinery.
A public meeting has heard that plans for 500 giant wind turbines six miles offshore would change the infrastructure of the island for its 800 population, with single-lane roads with passing places having to be widened, and a new harbour built, along with houses for the construction workers and their families.
An expected 60 helicopter movements a day would be made at the local airport, and health, education, housing and policing would need to be upgraded. It is understood a building the size of a football pitch would be required to house an electrical connector for the wind turbines.
Ralph Thornton, project leader of the Scottish Power-backed plans, said planning consent would be given by the Scottish Energy Minister and not the local authority planning department. Allison Maclean, of Scaranish, Tiree, said yesterday: “Our whole way of life will be destroyed when this work gets started. It is the end of the Tiree we know and love. Our Gaelic culture will suffer and we will lose our peaceful existence. No doubt this scheme will be railroaded through in the guise of national necessity.”
The Duke of Argyll owns the 12-mile long island. His factor, Andrew Montgomery, 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 of Tiree and the island and the duke has serious concerns about the plans which could destroy the way of life here.”
Local community group the Tiree Development Trust, which hosted the meeting, is to seek residents’ views in writing. Work is scheduled to start on the project in three years’ time.
Asked at the meeting if there was anything that could stop the off-shore development Mr Thornton replied: “The only thing that could stop it is if a species so rare as to be given world or European protection was found at the site of the proposed windfarm.
“Otherwise the development cannot be stopped. It will go ahead.”