Strachur Community Council
Minutes of Special Meeting
Held 19:30 on Wednesday 11th October 2017, Strachur New Hall
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Ceci Alderton, Les Earle, John Fleming, Isabel McGladdery, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie (Secretary).
Representatives of Muirden Energy LLP: Angus Elder, John Moisey.
Also in attendance: Cllr Alan Reid, Gordon Neish (local press) and approx. 30 members of the public.
There was one item on the agenda: Proposal for a wind farm in Succoth Glen.
1. Secretary’s opening remarks:
Iain opened the meeting with a general welcome and introduced Angus Elder (Muirden Energy LLP) to the audience.
2. Angus elder summarised Muirden Energy’s experience in installing wind turbines and outlined the proposal.
Muirden Energy has 30 operational developments in Scotland and Wales and has installed more than 60MW of operational wind power in Scotland over the past 7 years.
The proposal for Succoth Glen is detailed in a Scoping Report, which can be viewed at https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/2cf1b2_e6a222f71a7343149abae97a21bf92c1.pdf. This has been submitted to Argyll & Bute Council who will provide a Scoping Opinion on the proposal. Depending on the Scoping Opinion, a Planning Application will, or will not, be submitted.
The proposed location of the wind farm is on land owned by The Forestry Partnership. The exact number, location and generating capacity of the turbines have still to be finalised and will be influenced by technical and environmental studies that are ongoing. At this stage it is considered that there will be nine turbines up to 139m in height (to blade tip) with a total generating capacity of up to 27MW.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be undertaken, so that sensitive ecological habitats and other environmentally sensitive areas can be identified and avoided. The final design of the development will also be influenced by factors such as visual impact, shadow flicker, noise and radio interference.
If planning permission is granted, a community benefits package would be set up to provide an annual fund (equal to £5,000/MW of installed capacity) that would be available to the local community. In addition, the local community could invest in the project by setting up as a cooperative or investing as a local trust.
There will be public consultation in the form of two exhibitions in Autumn 2017 and Spring 2018. The findings of the EIA and consultation will be taken account of in the Planning Application, which will be submitted in Autumn 2018 with a decision expected in Spring 2019.
3. Questions and comments were invited from the audience. Views for and against the proposal were expressed. The following is a summary:
What is the lifespan of the wind farm? 25 years.
What size are the turbines compared to the ones at Glendaruel? They are higher but more efficient.
Where will the power come off the site? It will come off the site underground.
Where will the connection point to the national grid be? We are speaking to SSE and it looks likely it will be Cairndow.
When will we see visualisation pics? At the first Exhibition later this Autumn.
What are the tower and blade heights? Tower 69m to 98m; blades 82m.
There’s an ever increasing number of wind farms. At sea level you see nothing but at the top of the hills, e.g. Ben Hope, you see too many and they are desecrating the Scottish landscape.
I was on holiday about 1km away from 5 turbines and could hear a constant whine. At this wind farm the wind will be blowing towards an area with no housing and carrying sound in that direction.
Are you sure you can achieve 3MW from each turbine? Yes we can at this time.
45,000 migrating birds have lost their lives to these wind farms. Who benefits from this?
Do you design Hydro schemes as well? No, but we do biomass and solar schemes.
Do you have a fallback position? That’s why we do the work before submitting a planning application.
Argyll & Bute Council carried out a Land Wind Energy Capacity Study. Will you take this into consideration? We are taking this on board but believe this wind farm has potential.
In South Lanarkshire, residents started off being in favour of wind farms, but as more went up opinion changed. Then, even though the Local Authority rejected proposals, the Scottish Government overturned their decisions.
How will you measure noise impact? We will assume that hills between the development and homes are not there.
How will the site be accessed? Roads will need to be straightened and corners widened. Talks will take place with ABC and land owners.
How do you know that the wind speeds are good enough? We will measure wind speeds using a new machine that sits on the ground and produces more accurate measurements.
We [residents of Strachur] have to take account of the ABC report before we make a decision either for or against. Look at the good the wind farm has done for the communities of Colintraive and Glendaruel with the community benefit they have received.
4. Iain thanked Angus Elder for his presentation and for answering the many questions.
Iain Wilkie and Kirstie Reid
Strachur Community Council