Let Malcolm Kirk explain …

Malcolm Kirk

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Why does this matter?

Only too commonplace throughout Scotland are similar classic examples of irresponsible speculative applications, wasting the scarce and valuable resources of planners and other authorities involved. Harm caused to those affected is ignored both by developers and vested interests – as are the resulting adverse health, visual impacts and gross environmental damage so often caused.

It matters to residents and visitors on both sides of Loch Awe because:

  • The visual impact of a development of this scale in this location will have far-reaching effects on their lives, their well being and their legitimate enjoyment of the amenities. Sound, including infrasound also known as Low Frequency Noise, affects close neighbours to turbines and is magnified across bodies of water. Potential adverse health effects are well documented in peer reviewed reports, details of which can be found on this blog.
  • The area is especially vulnerable to losses in the tourist industry from the destruction of cherished landscapes such as this. The Reporter’s recently delivered refusal of another developer’s Appeal against Argyll & Bute Planning Authority’s rejection of the nearby Ardchonnel windfarm application incorporated specific recognition of the damaging effect on tourism in the area.
  • There are very real threats to protected species, including golden eagles and other wild life with habitats in the adjacent officially designated SPA (Special Protected Area). Importantly, there is also a risk that private water supplies may be seriously contaminated by, as has occurred in other windfarm developments in Scotland. For details of such implications see the document ‘Request for Action’ in http://www.windsofjustice.org.uk.
    19 colossal turbines 450 feet high will not only dominate the hills-and-water landscape of North Loch Awe. The building of a gigantic industrial complex of steel, fibreglass and concrete, with access roads for mammoth construction equipment and quarries for the vast amount of foundation materials needed, will cause destruction of the land and unprecedented disruption to the roads network.

It matters because:

The North-East end of Loch Awe is an inland landscape of mountains, loch and islands whose configuration is second to none in Scotland. It contains:

  • no fewer than twelve islands.
  • two historic ruined castles – Kilchurn and Fraoch Eilean.
  • an ancient burial ground at the Chapel of Fyndoca on the island of Inishail with carved stones dating back to crusading times.
    ten offshore crannogs along its shoreline.

The Chapel of Fyndoca and Kilchurn Castle are both Scheduled Monuments.

As well as the beauty and undisturbed tranquillity of the Loch Awe landscape – repeatedly immortalised in literature and paintings such as J M W Turner’s watercolour of Kilchurn Castle, Sir Walter Scott’s novella The Highland Widow and the poetry of the blind bard of Glen Orchy, Duncan Ban MacIntyre, whose monument overlooks the entire wide panorama of the loch from above Ardteatle Bay – the powerful historic and aesthetic inspiration of the region is of immense intrinsic interest to our tourist industry as well as to the general well-being of Argyll and the West Highlands. We cannot stand by and allow this wonderful, unique environment to be desecrated by the intrusion of gigantic wind turbines – not just overlooking, but actually WITHIN it. No amount of cosmetic ‘landscaping’, could mitigate the appearance of a major industrial development covering an ugly, barren scar of newly felled coniferous forest, wholly detrimental to the ambience and nature of the area.

Serious questions are increasingly being asked as to the overall value and efficacy of onshore wind-generated power and its role in the mix of secure, stable, reliable energy needed to fulfil the domestic and industrial needs of our society. While these questions are outside the parameters of a judgement of the merits or otherwise of a planning application, what is indisputable is that the wrong type of energy generation in the wrong place will do immeasurable harm.

The Upper Sonachan Wind farm proposal falls firmly into this category. All who recognise this are urged to make their feelings known by registering their objection. For guidance on how best to do so, please click on the flyer image on the top right of the side bar.

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Upper Sonachan Wind Farm Objection

Planning Application to the Scottish Government by Ecotricity Ltd.

This group of six pictures of – LOCH AWE & BEN CRUACHAN and is intended to highlight “in the round” the great natural beauty of our environment and to illustrate how detrimentally it would be affected by the construction of gigantic wind turbines in a prominent position within it. Although the photographs in Appendix A, B and C were taken several years ago, the landscape topography remains unchanged and will to this day appear substantially the same to anyone seeing it from these viewpoints lucky enough to enjoy similar weather conditions. For copyright reasons we cannot include any of the 24 visualisations prepared by Ecotricity from their chosen viewpoints, but they may be seen in the developer’s Environmental Statement, available for consultation at Oban Library and at Argyll and Bute Council Oban offices, or to view or download from http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/upper-sonachan.

All six original photographs in this presentation were taken by Andrew A. Rose and are copyright. The recent images P1, P2 and P3 include visualisations of the proposed turbines in situ prepared by Malcolm Kirk.

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 P1. VIEW FROM APPROACH ROAD TO CRUACHAN DAM on the shoulder of Ben Cruachan | OS Map Ref. 72645 21085. Date 30 May 2015. 75mm lens. | This is just one of the views seen by walkers and climbers taking the easy route up Ben Cruachan, and by organised groups driving up to Cruachan Dam. The sacred isle of Inishail, once the site of a Cistercian Nunnery, occupies a prominent position on the centre left of the picture. Holiday-makers and residents alike would experience even closer views of the proposed wind turbines when circumnavigating the beautiful group of islands in the middle of Loch Awe and when visiting the Chapel of Fyndoca and the ancient burial ground containing several gravestones dating back to Crusader times, on Inishail. Many visitors enjoy camping and picnicking on the islands during the holiday season between April and October.

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P2. VIEW FROM THE PUBLIC ROAD BELOW DUNCAN BAN MACINTyRE MONUMENT near Dalmally, looking West South West. | OS Map Ref. 72585 21430. Date 10 June 2015. 75mm lens. | Looking from left to right in this famous panoramic view: the hillside with the proposed Upper Sonachan Wind “Park”; Loch Awe with some of its islands; the entrance to the Pass of Brander and the shoulder of Ben Cruachan. The already operational wind farms at Carraig Gheal and Beinn Ghlas can be seen on the summits of the two hills centre and right.

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P3. VIEW FROM THE PUBLIC ROAD C29 AT FERNOCH HILL between Kilchrenan and Dalavich.| OS Map Ref. 71985 20145. Date 10 June 2015. | 75mm lens. This is the main tourist route along the north-west side of the loch and a favourite viewpoint for photographers. Panning from left to right we see the shoulder of Ben Cruachan and Loch Awe with Ben Lui in the distance; then on the south side of the loch the ridge of the hill behind which would be situated the proposed Upper Sonachan Wind “Park”. While from this viewpoint the blades of only one turbine would be visible, the remainder just out of sight below the crest of the hill, everyone approaching Kilchrenan from the north on the B845 road will have all 19 turbines in full view from the crest of the hill leading into the village.

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Appendix A: View taken from the hillside above Sonachan house:OS Map Ref: 71985 20395 Showing the whole length of the Ben Cruachan massif. This view of Ben Cruachan is paralleled by that from the site of the proposed Upper Sonachan Windfarm which is approximately one mile to the east; i.e. just beyond the right side of the picture. This wide-angle photo was taken several years ago, but the mountain topography remains unchanged. On right is a diagram emphasising the ‘head-on’ relationship of the proposed windfarm to Ben Cruachan. Unlike many onshore windfarms which are located in relative obscurity on upland plateau, this one would in effect be a full-frontal exposure on sloping ground directly overlooking one of the loveliest reaches of one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland, as well as being sited directly opposite the magnificent mountain massif of Ben Cruachan and the settlement of Kilchrenan.

ardbrecknish

APPENDIX B: VIEW FROM AFFORESTED GROUND ABOVE ARDBRECKNISH and below the proposed site of the turbines |OS Map Ref. 72065 20760. | As with the photographs reproduced in Appendices A and C, it shows the unmistakable quality of “the sublime”, one of the main sparks that ignited tourism to the West Highlands in the 19th Century. It is a particular irony that this very view should now be facing the intrusive head-on prospect of an industrial complex of gigantic wind turbines attempting to disguise its true nature by describing itself as a “Park”.

cladich

APPENDIX C: VIEW FROM ABOVE THE A819 ROAD at Bovuy near Cladich| Map Ref. OS 72250 21050. | It shows Loch Awe with Inishail and the Black Isles beneath Ben Cruachan and the entrance to the Pass of Brander. The photo was taken several years ago but the landscape topography remains unchanged. Upper Sonachan Wind “Park” would be situated between Aspects A and C on the attached map, directly facing Loch Awe and Ben Cruachan.

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Upper Sonachan wind farm visualisations From original scoping report

Note: The positions of the turbine visualisations pictured here are from the original scoping report and a few have since been slightly moved.  Due to the angle of shot, some turbines are missing. Nonetheless, the overall visual effect remains approximately the same.

photo1

Photo 1. View taken from the shoreline of Loch Awe at the site of the old pier at Ardanaiseig. OS Map Ref. 72455 20935, looking South West. This is the view that holiday-makers and residents alike would experience when circumnavigating the beautiful group of islands in the middle of Loch Awe.

photo2

Photo 2.  The view from the public road from Kilchrenan to Ardanaiseig, near Larach Ban. OS Map Ref. 72330 20660, looking South. Date 10 June 2015, lens 75mm. All visitors to the 5-star Ardanaiseig Hotel would be subjected to this intrusive view every time they pass in or out, in addition to views of the existing Carraig Gheal and Beinn Ghlas windfarms to the West.

photo3

  The view from the public road B845 at the north end of Kilchrenan Village. OS Map Ref. 72340 20355, looking South East. Date 14 May 2015, lens 74mm.

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Whisper it, but could Scotland live without Holyrood?

Add that Scottish communities are denied the right to refuse unwanted developments which their southern counterparts enjoy having – and you begin to see the logic of the arguments that Holyrood is currently superfluous to needs/failing in its raison d’être ?

Stephen Daisley

Fed up with Holyrood? Frustrated with a First Minister who jets around the globe like a head of state? Had your fill of mediocre MSPs, freedom-snatching laws and endless posturing about independence?

Ukip reckons it has the answer and thinks its solution will win your vote next time round. The populist party is set to back the abolition of the current devolution arrangements, which Scottish leader David Coburn pillories as a ‘waste of the public’s money’. He wants to sack MSPs (‘second-rate windbags’ who ‘look bad and sound bad’) and instead have Scottish MPs at Westminster ‘meet once a month in Edinburgh to do Scottish affairs’.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Ukip proposed something similar going into the 2011 Holyrood election, though by 2016 they had seemingly made their peace with devolution, admitting that ‘the idea of a Scottish parliament has a majority of support’ and professing themselves ‘in…

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Igniting the Green Revolution: some brain storming from environmental lawyers

A post to read and share. Of major importance will be whether this will lead to less effective lobbying from those such as the wind industry. They should then be forced to stick to accurate facts – and provide proof of claims made. So in this respect, the scientists involved must be seen to be unbiased and skilled in their appreciation and knowledge of emerging science. For example , the progress in technology for measuring the full spectrum of sound from wind turbines, and the effect of wind turbine infra-sound emissions on all forms of life. As we know, the world is still largely relying on the British ETSU standard of sound measurements which, in the absence of such vital coverage, is not fit for purpose.

UK Human Rights Blog

Image may contain: 3 people Image Credit: Tobias Schreiner, PIEL UK

On Friday 6th April, Public Interest Environmental Law (PIEL) UK hosted their 12th annual conference. The student-led association, which was founded in 2007, is inspired by the US conference of the same name which has attracted ever-growing numbers of delegates since it began in 1983.

This year’s conference boasted three panels packed with academics and practitioners, and a keynote address from Richard Macrory CBE. In light of the movement’s snowballing strength, it seemed apposite that this year’s conference be themed ‘Environmental Litigation: Has the Green Revolution Reached the Courts?’

In fact, speakers ranged beyond this brief, partly due to recognising that it would take the coalescence of strategic litigation with procedural reform and public interest to truly ignite the ‘green revolution.’

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Delingpole: Climate Alarmists Maul Inconvenient Polar Bear Expert

A site always worth visiting…………

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

Dellers weighs in the latest episode of the polar bear saga:

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That’s why the alarmist establishment is currently trying destroy her.

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Phew, Wot A Scorcher, April!

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

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https://twitter.com/metoffice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraph.co.uk%2Fnews%2F2018%2F04%2F20%2Fuk-weather-britain-set-sizzle-hottest-april-day-70-years%2F

Excruciatingly close, say the Met Office!

Well, maybe for then, as they would love to be able to declare another record high. But the real story is not the one they would like to portray.

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Midwest To Become Arid, As It Gets Wetter!

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

From “Where do they get this crap Department”?

A new study, based on (you guessed it, climate models), reckons that the arid belt in the western US is moving east, threatening the corn belt in the Midwest:

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https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/teia-t1m041118.php

This is the study:

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The 100th meridian bisects the Great Plains of the United States and effectively divides the continent into more arid western and less arid eastern halves and is well expressed in terms of vegetation, land hydrology, crops, and the farm economy. Here, it is considered how this arid–humid divide will change in intensity and location during the current century under rising greenhouse gases. It is first shown that state-of-the-art climate models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project generally underestimate the degree of aridity of the United States and simulate an arid–humid divide that is too diffuse. These biases are traced to excessive precipitation…

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Dunce School: Electricity Generation 101 for the Wind & Sun Worshipper

STOP THESE THINGS

It takes a special brand of ignorance to still believe that the world can run on sunshine and breezes. Whether you blame a breakdown in the education system or a Trotskyite takeover of the mainstream media, the results are the same: there’s a stubborn rump who continue to turn fantasy into ‘fact’; who are incapable of distinguishing the former from the latter; and who are by far the most rabid and shrill when it comes to the topic of the generation of electricity.

Our good friends logic and reason were sacrificed on the altar of ideology, a generation ago.

Defending those critical attributes of an ordered and civil society is what STT is all about. Of course, the wind and sun cult hate us for that.

You can’t blame them; when you have a child-like belief in something you deeply love (think Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, talking unicorns) and…

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Cost & Reliability Winners: Coal & Nuclear Just Keep On Keeping On

STOP THESE THINGS

Pin satisfaction of your power demands to the weather, and expect the results to vary just like the .. ahem .. weather.

One of the paradoxes of energy generation is that the most reliable sources are the cheapest, by far.

Coal and nuclear power generation don’t need a second system like pumped hydro, mythical mega-batteries or prayers to Mother Nature in order to deliver power 24 x 365, whatever the weather. These are ‘systems’ and, by definition, systems work.

What’s depicted above is taken from Aneroid Energy and shows the entire output of every wind turbine located in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia connected to the Eastern Grid, with a combined notional capacity of 4,675 MW during January this year. Up and down like a proverbial yo-yo, by no stretch of the imagination can wind power ever be described as a ‘system’: it’s chaos.

January in…

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