Onshore Renewables – Community Benefit Consultation

IMG_0800-1In view of the potential onshore renewables projects in Ardentinny which have recently been raised at  Ardentinny Community Council meetings, residents may wish to participate in Argyll and Bute Council’s Community Benefit Consultation.

The Council has drawn up a framework for community benefits from onshore renewables which will replace its 2005 policy. You may view this draft document here. You are invited to provide your feedback here.

Responses should be submitted no later than 13 March 2015.


Warning to dog owners of poisonous plant on Ardentinny beach (updated)


We’ve received a report of a very poisonous plant which has appeared along the high tide mark on Ardentinny Beach (between Coronation Wood and River Finart estuary). The plant is starting to root in the vegetation. A labrador was reportedly sick from eating the plant last Sunday.

We understand that the plant is poisonous to dogs and humans. It smells and tastes like parsnips. If anyone can identify the plant from the photograph, please let us know.

Please take care when walking your dogs in the beach area.

Update 28 Jan, 23.36: We’ve been informed that the plant is Hemlock Water Dropwort, thought to be the deadliest plant in Britain. A dog in Helensburgh who ate the plant last January died within 20 minutes.

More information:
Poisonous plant warning to dog owners [Scottish Farmer]


Defibrillator for Ardentinny

2014-12-12_10-24-12A project, led by Community Council secretary, Roy Harrison, to raise money for a village defibrillator has achieved its aim. The sum of £2,264 has been raised for its purchase. It will be sited on the wall of Ferry House at the top of Ardentinny Centre’s slipway. Once in place, training in its use will be provided to as many people as wish to volunteer.

Related link:

AED Locator website


Ardentinny artist puts his stamp on historic referendum campaign

Bill Williamson with his special commemorative referendum ‘Yes’ piece.

Bill Williamson with his special commemorative  ‘Yes’ piece.

Accomplished ceramicist, community councillor and care worker, Bill Williamson wears many hats. A lifelong campaigner for the rights of others, Bill considers the Westminster system is broken. “Working three days a week as a carer, I have seen first hand the effects of the cuts that are being experienced by vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in Scotland.

With the UK government’s recent austerity measures, the Scottish Government has had to judicially juggle its overall budget in order to protect its spending on health. However, with more austerity measures promised by Westminster there is only so much Scotland can do and we need full control of Scotland’s finances if we are to properly care for our sick and disadvantaged”.

Bill has created a ceramic sculpture to commemorate the September 18 Referendum. “This Thursday we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make things better for Scotland and its people. The Westminster politicians and the mainstream media have done their best to scaremonger and polarise the nation. They would have us believe that the vote is for an individual or a political party, this of course is nonsense.

For the first time in 300 years, we have the opportunity to take control of our own destiny and in 2 years’ time elect a government of our choice. I have no doubt we will have teething problems, however I feel sure that the grassroots groups this referendum has created will ensure our future politicians are kept firmly in line.

My referendum piece represents the four countries of the current UK. Independence will not just be a victory for Scotland, it will represent an opportunity for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to break away from the Westminster system”.

Bill Williamson with be participating in the Cowal Open Studios event from 26 – 29 September, 2014. More details here.



Spraying of knotweed (updated)

Ardentinny Community Council recently funded the training of a local volunteer to spray Japanese knotweed. Spraying took place on 24 August, according to signs placed in the beach path area. However, these signs are no longer there and so we have written to the Community Council Convener to request the name of the pesticide used in order to inform the public.

In the meantime, it may be advisable to keep animals under control between Coronation Wood and the entrance to Ardfin avenue and also to refrain from eating any berries/brambles in the area.

Update: We have since been informed by the Convener of Ardentinny Community Council that the substance sprayed was ‘Round Up’.


Village Project Fund


January storm damage at Coronation Wood.

At the August Community Council meeting it was learned that there now exists a new village project fund.

Apparently a financial contribution came from Storie Argyll Ltd in compensation for the damage caused to Coronation Wood  while the company was clearing the beach access on behalf of Scottish Water.

It is intended to use the funds for the acquisition of a village notice board which will direct visitors to places of interest in Ardentinny.

The Coronation Wood group managing the fund does not intend to register as a charity, nor will it apply for funds.. It is simply ‘a group of people who wish to undertake projects to maintain and improve the village’.

Another small project they have apparently undertaken is the clearing of the Laird’s Grave.


MoD: Divide and rule or Rule and divide?

Manoeuvres off RNAD Coulport

One could be forgiven for thinking that either or both strategies were in play in the Ministry of Defence’s handling of a request to attend a community meeting in Ardentinny. The request was the outcome of a Community Council meeting held on 1 April, 2014 during which the alarming blasts, which took place in Coulport in March, were discussed at length along with other issues of concern regarding the RNAD base at Coulport.

During the week of these very disturbing explosions residents telephoned the MoD regularly to enquire and to complain, and by the Thursday Ardentinny.org was informed that RNAD Coulport would now only deal with the MoD-approved community ‘conduit’ , i.e., Ardentinny Community Council’s Convener. Therefore, it was she who, on behalf of the community, made the request for a representative from the MoD to attend a community meeting in which residents could pose their questions.

It was reported at the June Community Council meeting that, said Convener, in an email to the MoD, stated she was ‘exceptionally disappointed, dismayed and unbelieving’ that the MoD had reneged on a verbal agreement made to attend such a meeting during a conversation which took place on the 2nd April. Instead, in their correspondence in response to the Convener’s of the 21 and 28 April, the MoD said it would not be possible to accept her invitation to send representatives to a public meeting, but offered her the opportunity to raise concerns at the annual Clyde Local Liaison Committee (CLLC) meeting on 28 May 2014.

Only one resident (a Community Councillor) submitted questions to the Convener for this purpose. This may have been because others had no questions and/or those who did, wished to pose them directly at a public meeting, as they had requested. The questions conveyed to the CLLC are as follows, along with the responses from person/s unknown (to us):

Q. Recent reports in the press have stated that Coulport MoD Base has asked for approval to increase the amount of radioactive waste discharged into Loch Long; can we have a figure for the amount of such waste presently discharged, showing the frequency of such discharges, at what time of day or month or year this is carried out and what levels of radioactivity are involved?

A. There is nothing discharged into Loch Long.

Q. A very recent report refers to staff shortages at this base; a Ministerial response has revealed that the MoD has vacancies for 97 posts categorised as ‘safety critical’. How many of these posts are at MoD Coulport and how many of these are for qualified nuclear engineers and for other qualified personnel who deal with nuclear armaments or radioactive material; for how long have such posts been vacant and how soon may they be expected to be filled?

A. There are no naval vacancies at Coulport.

Q. If none of such posts is related to nuclear operations how many are described as ‘safety critical’ for other reasons?

A. None.

Q. How often is the testing of Loch Long waters for radioactivity, in the vicinity of Coulport and Ardentinny carried out, at what intervals and where are such test results displayed?

A. Testing is done regularly and everywhere. The Convener was unsure where the results were displayed but it was thought that they may be published on the SEPA website.

Q. We have seen other reports of accidents occurring at Coulport base but the nature of such incidents are not reported; can descriptions of accidents happened during the past year be given to this Community Council so that public apprehension might be lessened?

A. The Convener reported that there had been a long presentation about safety and that they (MoD) dealt with it by ensuring that every incident, however unimportant, was recorded and by controlling such minor incidents in this way it enabled them to control anything more major. She also reported that she had found an open paper on the Internet, the source of which she could not remember, which said that survey results showed there was no radioactive hazard in Loch Long.

Q. Present Scottish Government policy is for the dismantling and ceasing of all operations at Coulport in the event of the September Referendum resulting in a vote for independence; have any timetables and other plans for this eventuality been drawn up and, if so, can such plans be announced to give local communities the opportunity to prepare their own plans for the future environmental and other uses of this area?

A. The British Government in Westminster has not made any plans.

Community Councillor Dennis Gower expressed his disappointment at the responses to his questions, stating that they seemed to be largely opinion rather than fact. On the question of safety, Bill Williamson asked if the MoD had mentioned the emission of radioactive tritium gas from Coulport in their safety presentation. Quoting from a report he said that emissions of the gas have doubled between 2008 and 2012 and are expected to rise further with upgraded warhead designs. Both councillors concluded that the feedback from the CLLC meeting was insufficient and unacceptable.

Argyll & Bute Councillor Gordon Blair then interjected saying that he was very sorry that the Convener had been put in this position by the manipulation of the MoD who had created this situation through their lack of customer service. He reported that when he called to request their attendance at a community meeting he was dealt with rather tersely by the first point of contact. He was quick to point out that they are public servants and it is we who pay their salaries and that he felt they had short-changed us. He said he would be taking it further up the tree politically, but he expressed his regret that the Convener was on the receiving end of the wrath of others due to the MoD not being as customer-focussed as they should be.

The Convener then went on to read aloud correspondence between her and the MoD with the final instruction that if anyone was dissatisfied with this outcome or had any other questions or concerns they were to write to MoD Ministerial Correspondence Unit, 5th Floor, Zone A, Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB or email ParliBranch-Treat-Official@mod.uk. However they will not respond by email. Therefore a postal address will need to be provided if you wish to receive a reply.

Related links:

Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) Quarterly Site Report for HM Naval Base Clyde 1 Jan 2014 – 31 March 2014

Office for Nuclear Regulation: Quarterly Local Liaison Committee / Site Stakeholder group reports

Safety fears after nuclear bomb store avoids independent inspections




Coulport blasts: MOD will not attend village meeting

The following was posted on the Ardentinny village notice board.



Update on communication regarding Coulport

On enquiring, MSP Mike Russell reported that he had not yet received a reply to his letter to the Minister of Defence and would follow this up and Ardentinny Community Council Convener, Val Kennedy confirmed that she had contacted the MOD  and ‘will notify the CC and village when the meeting has been confirmed.’


262 safety accidents at Clyde nuclear bases as new Coulport explosives handling facility revealed


Submarine earlier this week on Loch Long

In an article, by environment correspondent Rob Edwards in today’s Sunday Herald, the Ministry of Defence has revealed that it is planning a new conventional explosives handling facility at Coulport to deal with the growing number of nuclear submarines due to be based on the Clyde over the next few years.

In addition, a report, released under the Freedom of Information Act, has disclosed that in the five years up to August 2012, 262 nuclear safety incidents attributed to “human factors” have been reported at Clyde naval bases. 

As the residents of Ardentinny await a public meeting with MoD representatives which was demanded at the recent Community Council meeting, the Sunday Herald’s report highlights that greater communication is needed between Ardentinny and its neighbours across Loch Long.

– Sunday Herald: Nuclear safety incidents at Clyde bases ‘chilling’

– Rob Edwards: MoD report reveals over 260 safety incidents at Clyde nuclear bases

– Nuclear safety at HMNB Clyde report released by the Ministry of Defence

This work by ardentinny.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 UK: Scotland.