30.03.2012 - A neighbouring turbine objector writes...

Published the day after three wind turbines were erected at Ardbeg Farm, local resident, near neighbour and serial 'turbine objector' Mr Tony Harrison bemoans the size of the met mast at Ascog Farm.

Mr Harrison latterly occupied Grade A listed Balmory Hall before selling it to build - following a series of planning appeals to the local council and ultimately the Scottish Executive - a modern, energy efficient and subjectively out-of-keeping £1m Huf Haus more or less next door to it in part of the grounds he kept back.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Mr Harrison is keen to sing the praises of his controversially designed new home, stating that "We paid £32,000 to install [solar] panels but, thanks to new legislation, are able to sell the surplus electricity we produce to the national grid... We have calculated that we will get a nine per cent inflation-proof return on our capital outlay."

Although both Balmory Hall and Mr Harrison's new residence face directly out to the Ayrshire coast and the dozens of wind turbines already installed at Largs and Ardrossan - not to mention the nuclear and coal plants down the coast at Hunterston - he is worried that the height of turbines proposed for Ascog might 'see Bute's beautiful landscapes and seascapes destroyed by this industrialisation'.

Read on for Mr Harrison's letter and our response.

©The Buteman

In contrast to Mr Harrison's £1m personal eco-development, if our planning application for wind turbines is successful:
  • Under the terms of the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme we must repay the £95,000 loan that has helped us in the expensive business of creating an Environmental Impact Assessment to support the application
  • We will pay out 20% of net profit annually over the lifespan of the project to benefit the local community, a total amounting to in excess of £1m over a twenty year period
The turbines we are proposing - at 50m to the hub and 74m to the (rotating) blade tip - are far from the biggest on the market and are designed to make the most of a wind resource that, obviously, is more abundant higher up where the wind blows harder.

Although turbines would of course be visible from certain distinct points on Bute and from the sea nearby (where no-one lives!) they will not be visible from most parts of Rothesay where the bulk of the population lives nor from many other locations on Bute whose views uphill are obscured by the cliff forming the geological feature known as the 'raised beach' which surrounds a large part of the Island and particularly the Ascog shore.

Perhaps it is a little disingenuous of someone living in a newly built, superbly insulated £1m home built by a firm that proclaims its 'new loving relationship between transparent architecture and efficient use of energy' to criticise an alternative form of renewable energy generation, and one that could feed in to a substantial fund to help fellow residents on Bute insulate their old stone-built homes if they cannot afford a new Huf Haus of their own!

Hopefully larger turbines at Ascog Farm will be next through planning slightly later this year!