Just before Christmas 2012 we were informed of an unidentifiable but very tall mast visible from the west shores of Loch Fyne on the horizon on east Loch Fyne opposite Minard Castle.
Now there are two of them – one on the ridgeline itself and one half way up the side of the hill.
These are anemometers conducting a temporary meteorological survey of wind speeds is a specific area – the masts are therefore at the height of the hub of the turbine rotor.
The appearance of these tall and slender masts signifies planned applications for wind farms.
A quick google came up with this website, indicating that Burcote Wind are currently ‘consulting on proposals for a wind farm of up to 43 turbines at Lephin. The site is located on the Cowal pensinsula, on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne, between Lephinmore and Otter Ferry. It is approximately 10km east of Lochgilphead, the nearest town.
‘Although within the boundaries of Strachur Community Council, the Lephin proposal sits in the western half of that area, in the historic district of Strathlachlan.’
The website then declares that: ‘As part of the proposal, Burcote Wind will help establish a community benefit fund for the area, worth a minimum of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity. [Ed: given as 129MW].
‘This would provide an annual fund of around £645,000 – £16.1million over the wind farm’s lifetime – to support community projects.’
This is fundamentally misleading.
Research has shown – and wind developers and governments are well aware of this – that the period to decommissioning of wind turbines is nothing like the 25 year life lifespan previously assumed and on which this calculation is based. It is now thought to be around 12 years.
£8 million odd is still a lot of money but communities would have to factor in to their decision on whether to support or object to the proposal, the prolonged and significant upheaval involved in the construction and installation of a wind farm – plus, 12 years later, the suffering of the physical and acoustic upheaval of decommissioning the site – at least as disruptive process as its installation.
We have been told that yesterday there was some burning at Lephinmore, which might have been burning off scrub on the site, suggesting that the developer’s perspective is that they will be going ahead on this proposal.
Yet the Burcote website linked above does not indicate that planning consent has been granted – nor can we find any trace of such a decision on Argyll and Bute Council’s website.
There is absolutely no doubt that a wind farm, never mind 43 wind turbines, on this site would be a substantial and significant intervention in a very specific landscape, visible quite widely.
We understand that Furnace Community Council – which would be one of those affected, was contacted some time ago by a consultant representing Burcote; and are asking whether this was a ‘consultation’ or a preliminary information note; and what response was given. [We will update this article when we get this information.]
At the time this contact was made, Burcote had done virtually no background research and was not aware – until the Chair of Furnace Community Council informed their consultant, that there already was another application for the same area from the Banks Group.
This is for the Strachur area and would also impact heavily on the Loch Fyne landscape as seen from the west shores but not by the communities of Strachur and Glendaruel near which it is planned to be located.