21.11.2012 - Bute Community Council considers plans for wind turbines at AscogHaving requested (on 12 November 2012) the as-then unpublished Minutes of the 18 July 2012 Bute Community Council meeting during which anti-turbine campaigners made apparently 'detailed' objections before the planning application for three wind turbines at Ascog Farm was even lodged we were glad to receive a copy of the Minutes from the Secretary of BCC on the afternoon of 19 November 2012.
In thanking the Secretary for the documents it emerged that the BCC was to consider the issue again and vote on it on the evening of 21 November 2012 with a ten-minute slot to consider arguments 'for' and 'against'.
There's nothing like receiving advance notice of an important meeting! Especially when you've just left the Island and have to get a flight and boat back in the middle of a spell of particularly rough and windy weather!
Nonetheless, Adrian managed to make it through the bad weather and gave a presentation (2.48MB PowerPoint 2010) which you may download or hopefully page through using the viewer below:
Adrian's presentation was followed by a team effort by Mr Tony Harrison (of eco green[r]evolution Huf House fame) and Mrs Jean Moffat of The Hermitage who read out a letter from another Ascog 'villager'.
The thrust of their arguments again concerned:
Perceived 'health' dangers from 'infrasound' and 'low frequency noise'
The 'issue' of 'infrasound' and 'low frequency noise' from wind turbines has been covered elsewhere on this site and is widely thought to be something of a canard relating to the apparent 'condition' of 'Wind Turbine Syndrome' (mentioned by name in the Minutes recording the 18 July 2012 BCC meeting). Dr Geoff Leventhall, Consultant in Noise Vibration and Acoustics, has dismissed claims of health effects arising from 'infrasound' from wind turbines stating that 'infrasound and inaudible noise from wind turbines are not a health problem'. Attitudes to noise sources, as Dr Leventhall notes, are more likey to be a large factor in the degree of perceived annoyance. So let's all try to learn to love wind turbines as the world's governments seek to 'decarbonise' our energy economies!
Impacts on 'views' and by extension the 'fragile tourist industry' on Bute
As our PowerPoint slides (above) show we have made no attempt to disguise the fact that wind turbines are sizeable structures. However, since a larger 'swept area' (from bigger blades) increases yields it makes sense to try and install machines that maximise the strong wind conditions at the Ascog site. Views of the turbines are clearly of concern to some residents, several of whom have produced rather misleading graphics of seemingly gigantic turbines looming over everything or tightly focusing on views of the turbines from sea (where no-one lives, although people do of course pass by on boats). Interestingly, as I write this, the BBC reports that a Scottish Parliamentary Inquiry has dismissed claims by Donald Trump and others suggesting that wind/renewables projects are ruining Scotland's tourist industry.. The report states that "No witness has provided the committee with robust, empirical evidence, as opposed to anecdotal comment and opinion, that tourism is being negatively affected by the development of renewable projects." The report may be downloaded in full from the Scottish Parliament site.
Perhaps everyone should read the recent World Bank report into the dangers of a "+4oC world", warning of potentially major sea-level changes, crop failures, temperature changes and mass emigration if climate change is left unchecked.
The World Bank also state unequivocally that:
Warming of 4°C can still be avoided: numerous studies show that there are technically and economically feasible emissions pathways to hold warming likely below 2°C. Thus the level of impacts that developing countries and the rest of the world experience will be a result of government, private sector, and civil society decisions and choices, including, unfortunately, inaction.
If you are inclined to think that it might not be a bad idea to try and do something about climate change by harnessing wind power, are unconcerned by 'health scare' claims and agree with Scotland's MSPs that no evidence of harm to tourism has come from wind turbine developments please support the planning application for a renewable/community wind energy project at Ascog Farm.
It's over to the planners at Argyll & Bute Council now to thoroughly investigate the planning application.