(Updated with scale image) I have been harking on about some of the environmental effects of the Tiree array on Tiree… effects on protected species such as the Great Northern Divers and basking sharks that swarm or swim in our inshore waters; effects on proposed Special Protected Areas (the 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 (SPR) and their employees to enter into a dialogue on the issue of microclimate or local climate change caused by the Tiree Array. Quite simply they continually dodge the question by stating ‘… all issues will be addressed in our environmental impact assessment…’
Given that this 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 ?).
Here is a very timely release by the BBC and, so that I am not accused of cherry picking sentences or scaremongeringm I suggest that if you have access to a computer you should read it.
‘…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,” the author 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 put problems and consequences before SPR?
These are problems to which SPR give no consideration – either in how they might study or indeed address the effects flagged up?
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) could be in the wind shadow of this powerstation, I question not only SPR’s legality in affecting an existing proposed maritime SPA but also the possible consequences to our onshore SSSIs. 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, based on solid scientific research, there will 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 them more than any other – the weather SPR will create.
I write this outside of my No Tiree Array involvement…and directly as a concerned resident.
Spurred on by the likes of Gavin Maxwell, I too am convinced that mankind is suffering from its separation from the natural world.
It may simply be a strange coincidence that I write this on the edge of the remaining Mesopotamian marshlands, the birthplace of Gavin’s otter, Mijbil, of Ring of Bright Water fam.
The Mesopotamian Otter is now extinct but it is thought that its DNA lives on in some local Scottish otter populations.
On that note I pray that the west coast is left out of man’s continual quest for more.
Note 1: This is also to be published in An Tirisdeach, the newspaper, in print and online, for Tiree.
Note 2: The illustration above is accurate to scale and is © Malcolm Kirk