Labour and the Conservatives have been accused of misleading the public by exaggerating the number of jobs that would be lost if the Trident nuclear weapons system were removed from the Clyde. Figures released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under freedom of information law reveal that only 520 civilian jobs at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh are directly dependent on Trident. This contrasts with the 6000-11,000 jobs that pro-Trident politicians claim are at risk. Read full story at The Herald.
25 Oct 23:47 UPDATE: RPWDT has now updated its website and included a section devoted to the Community Wind Farm. This includes the DRAFT Environmental Impact Assessment and photomontages including the view from Ardentinny.
Following on from a public meeting in Cove last Saturday, Community Council members from along ‘The Shore’ (Strone, Kilmun, Blairmore and Ardentinny) were given a briefing on Tuesday evening by representatives from Roseneath Peninsula West Development Trust (RPWDT) on the proposed Cove Community Wind Farm.
Generating some 11.5MW of power, the five 92.5m turbines would be located on leased land on the Roseneath Peninsula opposite Blairmore Pier. It would be the largest community owned wind farm in the UK. The turbines will be clearly visible from Ardentinny and would follow a 130m contour line. The Trust hopes the wind farm will be up and running by March 2014.
Trust Convener Murdo MacDonald said that the project consultants had tried to ensure that the turbines would be “backclothed” (i.e. hills/mountains to the rear of the wind farm) from most viewpoints. From the photomontages on display though, it would appear that the view of the turbines from Ardentinny is against the skyline.
The £15m project will be financed by a bank loan and we understand that the team is already in discussions with the Cooperative Bank. Revenues from the wind farm annually have been estimated at £2.5 million, with the intention of the project generating some £300k – £400k per annum for the community during the initial 15 years of its 25-year lifespan.
The income will provide the Roseneath community with a major cash injection to the area which would be used to enhance the local infrastructure such as affordable housing, sheltered housing and other community projects.
To date the RPWDT has raised almost half a million pounds for the preparatory work, with funding coming from Natural Scotland; LEADER Argyll and Island; Community Energy Scotland; The European Agricultural Fund; The Scottish Government; Scottish Community Projects Fund; Dunbritton Housing Association; The Robertson Trust; Voluntary Action Trust and The Big Lottery.
Murdo MacDonald emphasised that it would not only be the Roseneath Peninsula communities who would benefit from the wind farm, as the intention was for the RPWDT to amend its constitution to allow communities outwith the area to benefit. As the shore villages of Ardentinny, Blairmore and Strone would be the most visually impacted by the location of the wind turbines, they would also stand to benefit by an estimated £30k per annum.
The Trust is currently balloting residents in the peninsula villages directly affected by the wind farm. If the vote is in favour (an anticipated 66% yes vote), a planning application will be submitted to Argyll and Bute Council at the end of November 2012.
An exhaustive environmental impact statement has been prepared and this will be available online after the public ballot. A series of photomontages, one of which is from Shepherds Point, Ardentinny (see image above) has also beeen included in the Trust’s website.
Given that the proposed development is adjacent to the Ministry of Defence at Coulport, there was discussion as to whether there had been any objections from the MOD. Mr. MacDonald said that there had been close liaison with the MOD and that they had no objections.
One attendee asked if the Trust had sufficient funds if the planning application had to go to appeal. Mr. MacMurdo said “We have to get this right first time” as they would not have the funds for lengthy appeals.
Another asked if ‘strobing effect‘ from the turbines had been considered? The questioner was advised to consult the environmental impact statement online as the Trust representatives were not immediately conversant with all the detail.
The RPWDT team behind the project are keen to involve all the shore communities during this exploratory period. It was suggested to the project leader that, to enable all the shore communities to fully participate in the discussion process, a public meeting could be held. Mr. MacMurdo indicated that this would be given consideration.
Related links:Facebook or on Twitter (#covewindfarm). You can also contact the RPWDT team here.
Argyll & Bute Council’s recycling collection service along the shore was interrupted this afternoon when their Iveco refuse truck toppled into a ditch near the Blairmore Farm/Shore road junction. Fortunately, it would appear that noone was hurt in the incident. The truck was recovered later in the day.
The last Waverley cruise of the season up Loch Long to Arrochar from Blairmore has been cancelled due to the bad weather which has delayed her departure from Southampton. As can be seen from the MarineTraffic.com image, her position is currently (16:00hrs) off Torbay, south west England. Her ETA at Glasgow is Sunday 10.00hrs, therefore her final cruise to Tighnabruach on Sunday cannot be confirmed.
Community Council: Ardentinny Hotel project gets green light; Police Report; Coronation Wood; Memorial bench.
The planned renovation of Ardentinny hotel to provide a bar/restaurant, house, and holiday let accommodation has been approved by the National Park’s Planning Department. This was announced at the Community Council meeting held on 2nd October when the Convenor read aloud a letter from the owners conveying their thanks to the Community Council and the community for their support of the project.
The Convenor also welcomed new Community Councillors Roy Harrison and Marian Norris to the committee and announced that Bill Williamson had been appointed secretary.
Community Police Report
PC Donald MacKay reported that the 3 main areas of concern which had emerged from public consultation among The Shore community were: speeding; bogus callers; and drunk and disorderly behaviour and therefore these were police priorities. He also said that there would be a planned diary of bi-monthly mobile police office meetings with 2 scheduled drop-ins between meetings, so that the community can discuss issues in the interim.
A group of volunteers has begun clearing the wood and they are now awaiting a visit from a tree surgeon. The Village Hall Association and the Community Council are contributing £500 each to this project while the Community Trust will contribute through fund-raising efforts. However, when the Trust began its dissolution process prior to its recent revival, it passed its remaining funds, which were in excess of these contributions, to the Village Hall Association for the benefit of the community. The project is to include new planting, some of which will be undertaken by the local schools community.
Some of you may have noticed that the Memorial bench to Tim and Sheila Honeyman has been removed from the Laird’s grave. The issue was raised by Bill Williamson as he had been approached by the late Mr. & Mrs. Honeyman’s daughter. David Robertson of Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) explained that this is in line with new FCS policy not to have memorials on FCS land. He did say that a new bench will be placed at the Laird’s grave but without the memorial plaque. We can now report that the plaque is being returned to the owner who is considering having the memorial bench at Glenfinart Walled Garden.