The indomitable and expert No Tiree Array campaign – fighting against Scottish Power Renewables’ [SPR] genuinely gross proposal for a gigantic inshore-offshore windfarm three and a half times the size of the island itself – has its eyes wide open on the developer’s latest swerve.
With their proposed Argyll Array – aka the Tiree Array – now faced as well by the evidence from Scottish Natural Heritage’s 2012 survey of basking shark activity migrating to Tiree, SPR is ‘considering’ reducing the size of the area for the massive array it wishes to wrap around half of the island.
The No Tiree Array website has an analysis of what this – and other – sleight of hand initiatives put forward by SPR, including some dubious and highly conditional post-consent community benefits – may and may not mean.
The reduction of sea area – only being ‘considered’ – would remove part or all of the area of the Skerryvore reef. This is said in the SPR statement reproduced on the No Tiree Array site to have the advantages of:
Reducing the overall size of the proposed Array, and
Reducing the areas impacting upon Basking Sharks and Great Northern Divers.
We notice from the maps contained within the SPR statement that the line drawn for the floated exclusion of part of the Skerryvore reef still includes a major area of basking shark activity, identified now by SNH as a European hotspot.
SPR seem to imagine that they’ve come up with a pacifying wheeze by suggesting that they might take the turbines away from their currently proposed encircling of the Skerryvore Lighthouse.
However, looking at the map with the line of retraction they are ‘considering’ would leave that beautiful historic structure with the unimaginable challenge of its building, against a dense backdrop of gigantic turbines which would dwarf and overpower it. It would look like a child’s toy.
No Tiree Array say that reducing the size of the area need not mean reducing the power to be hypothetically generated from the site – but may lead to the more powerful – and the tallest – 10MW turbines [as yet not designed] to be proposed for universal use throughout the array, producing the same theoretical output as the original proposal.
No Tiree Array say: ‘SPR will argue any reduction in the size of the proposed Array complies with its obligation to mitigate . However maintaining the same density of turbines in the retained area is not meaning full mitigation’.
The SPR statement is an update on whose back page the No Tiree Array campaigners note, choking, is ‘a Tiree seascape , in the crepescule , without a turbine in sight’.
It’s well worth checking out the information, the SPR statement and the analysis here on the No Tiree Array website.
This proposal is a key battleground for environmental responsibility across the spectrum. The No Tiree Array campaigners are wide awake, up to speed and going nowhere. But the way things are managed these days, none of that may count for anything.
This proposal is genuinely wrong. It is out of scale. It is out of place. It has a massive capacity to impact on the health of the islanders, on their climate, on their built history, on their marine environment and on their dark skies.
It is environmentally uninformed – carelessly so – and it is pretty unpleasant in the patronising and cheapskate way it is trying to buy the support of the Tirsdeachs.
As we have said before and will keep on saying, it has been this single brutalist and obscenely out of scale proposal that drove us to interrogate the entire wind prospectus and, on the resulting evidence, to come to oppose its indiscriminate utilisation driven by the Scottish Government.