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Open letter to Tiree Crofters, home owners and visitors  

Credit:  Karl Hughes, submitted to An Tirisdeach (local Isle of Tiree Newspaper) 30 April 2012 ~~

I have been harking on about some of the environmental effects of the Tiree array on Tiree…effects to protected species such as the Great Northern Divers and basking sharks that swarm or swim in our inshore waters, effects to proposed Special Protected Areas (marine equivalent of a SSSI)

We also now have a poll released by VisitScotland that shows that hypothetically we can expect a minimum of a 20% down turn is tourism, on top of this but related to all of the above and all who live, farm or visit Tiree are the disturbing consequences on our local (yes local) climate.

I have continually asked Scottish Power Renewables and their employees to enter into a dialogue on the issue of microclimate or local climate change caused by the Tiree Array, and quite simply they continually dodge the question by stating “…all issues will be addressed in our environmental impact assessment..” given that the issue is not within the scope of this proposed assessment I vent my anxiety openly to you all in the hope that in your dealings with SPR you too can ask the questions and note the answers (if any ?)

This is a very timely release by the BBC and, so that I am not accused of cherry picking sentences or scaremongering I suggest that if you have access to a computer you should read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17871300

‘…Wind farms can affect the local weather …’ The result – published in the journal Nature Climate Change – confirms an earlier, smaller study from 2010. “This article is a first step in exploring the potential of using satellite data to quantify the possible impacts of big wind farms on weather and climate,” he told BBC News. I will add that these studies were not made by either a pro or anti wind lobby.

Why is it left to members of the general public or our community to continually pre-empt and raise problems & affects to SPR ? problems that SPR do not give substance to either how they will study or indeed address the effects ? The last issue of the Great Northern Divers and SPA’s, once made common knowledge to the general public seems to have slowed the Tiree array development…is this issue going to do the same ?

Given that the Tiree Array is going to envelop our island and given that we (Tiree) will be in the wind shadow of this, Scotlands largest proposed wind powerstation, I question not only SPR’s legality in affecting an existing proposed maritime SPA but also the consequences to our onshore SSSI’s…of even more concern is the perceived effects to our agriculture sector.

On top of this we can also expect a substantial reduction in windspeeds on Tiree of possibly as much as 20% (great !; at least we will know where our wheelie bins are)…with a reduction in windspeed we can expect a reduction in water sports enthusiasts, this comes on top of a possible 20% reduction in holiday makers.

We do not know the effects to our agriculture but we do know that there will, based on solid scientific research, be changes in our local climate…less wind ? more moisture ? more ground poaching ? more rain and fog…?

More issues that SPR MUST explain to our community…I suggest that crofters enter into a direct dialogue with SPR via their representatives and see if they can get some ‘plain language’ answers to an issue that effects crofters more than any other group….the weather SPR will create.

(I write this outside of my NTA involvement…and directly as a concerned resident.)

Source:  Karl Hughes, submitted to An Tirisdeach (local Isle of Tiree Newspaper) 30 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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