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Wind farm applicant says project could lift Bute economy

The man behind the proposed Ascog wind farm says his project could help lift Bute out of its economic mire.

Adrian Tear, the owner of Ascog Farm, was reacting to news published in The Buteman this week that parts of Rothesay are among the most deprived in Scotland, according to the Scottish Index on Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).

The SIMD study also says Rothesay is the most employment-deprived area of Argyll and Bute.

Mr Tear sent two emails to Bute’s three local councillors and others on the evening of January 24 suggesting that wind power might provide at least part of the answer to the area’s economic difficulties.

In his first email, whose recipients also included Scottish Government ministers, Community Energy Scotland, Towards Zero Carbon Bute, Argyll and Bute’s Holyrood MSP Michael Russell and Westminster MP Alan Reid, Mr Tear said: “I would suggest it might not be a bad idea to use the natural resources available on Bute (and throughout Argyll & Bute) – namely a great deal of wind – to try and actually have something to sell which might make some money which might lift some communities out of the mire they are in.”

The email also included a link to an online story about UK and Irish ministers signing a deal which could see some of the world’s largest turbines built in the Irish midlands to generate electricity which would be transferred back to the UK via undersea cables – something Mr Tear called “the ‘mass NIMBY’ vision of Britain putting its wind turbines in Ireland so nobody in Britain can see them”.

In his second email, this time copied to Argyll and Bute planning officer Steven Gove, Community Energy Scotland and Towards Zero Carbon Bute, Mr Tear said: “The scheme I propose at Ascog could do something to harness a plentiful natural, non-polluting resource and generate some income on Bute.

“We would welcome direct community investment in the project which would result in a share of revenue in line with capital contributions.

“At Neilson [sic] near Glasgow a similar scheme – with more/larger turbines and community buy-in of up to 49.9 per cent – will generate millions for the community over the coming years that should help to revamp the whole town. The same could be true on Bute.”

Mr Tear’s email also invites councillors and council officials to contact him for discussions and/or a site visit.

So far the Ascog turbines – each of which would be 74 metres tall, from ground to blade tip, on an already elevated site – have attracted nearly six hundred public comments at Argyll and Bute Council’s website, the vast majority of them against the proposal.

The number of comments made means the fate of Mr Tear’s application will almost certainly be decided at a local hearing of the council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee.