Report on the meeting at Kilmelford on Sat 25th September 2010 Community involvement in the proposed Clachan Wind Farm Chaired by Neil Gerrard Highland and Island Enterprise There was no planning consultation meeting. Rory Young apologised for the misinformation published in the Oban time. BACKGROUND The proposal is for installation of 11 Enercon E44 900kw turbines: 56 meters to hub height; and 78 meters to tip height. These turbines would be connected to a substation on Clachan by underground cable and from there over to the Kilninver substation by overhead line. The proposed wind farm is a private development by the new owner of Clachan Farm. 1. An annual financial contribution. This option is the simplest to set up and administer. A pre-arranged annual lump sum of cash linked to the wind farms output would be deposited into a charitable trust that would then use the funds for the benefit of the local community. The terms of the trust would be agreed in advance with the community so that everyone agreed and understood how the money would be used. 2. The gifting of a consented site for the community to build and operate its own turbine. This option is more complex, would require a great deal more input from locals and would expose the community to some financial risk as a result of having to raise funding. It would be up to the community to decide which option to pursue based on their own aspirations. Whatever route is chosen the community will receive the utmost support and guidance from the Young family and those working with us throughout the project. It would probably be beneficial to the community scheme if it obtained charitable status for the following reasons:- Speakers Donald McLeod of Ardrishaig described the benefits they expect to have from their involvement They set up a Community trust as a company ltd by guarantee. They expect to receive 12th of the income about 60K per anum. They expect to pay off loans in 10 years A public ballot was held and 52 % of the public responded. They will bear the costs £xo,ooo to set up a turbine and decommission. +ves were the money coming into the community trust Negatives were the initial cost, Overcoming planning objections. Raising £1.3M from banks and funders Gordon Houslands from Fintry described their up and running ownership of 1 turbine out of A TOTAL OF 15, the community has benefited from Heat pumps and insulation. There was no community backing. A small group decided to set up a charitable company and raised money to buy the turbine from Commercial loans and government subsidies. The risks are low. There is no income if there is no wind. Scheme has run for 8 years Felix Wight of community Energy Scotland describe the Shared community ownership model Paul Phare of Energy4all Scotland described the co-operative model. No one can own a large share all members have equal voting rights £20K is maximum contribution allowed. See www.energy steps.coop He stated that the Clachan farm offer is unique A land owner partnering with the community. Option 1 community takes 90K per anum with no risk and little involvement Option 2 A free site is provided by the owner and the community pays for and installs a turbine> this can lead to a financial benefit of £680k by receiving 10 – 12% of the revenue generated Energy for all will provide expertise. 5 options are described in the attached brochure. Time table: Clachan wind farm plan to go public about the end of October planning approval to be sought 4 weeks later and after that there will be 4 weeks for objections. Some discussion followed: It was pointed out that getting three community councils to work together and form a company to administer the project would be difficult in such a short time It was clear from comments made by Bette Hunter that there will be opposition to the scheme which Rory Young admits will affect Clachan Seil. The Turbines will be located on the three ridges from the old clachan farm house to the Dub Loch and can be expected to be clearly visible in Clachan Seil. He argues that sound will not be a problem as there will only be 45 decibels if there is wind, and thinks the wind noise will drown the sound. And that the turbines will be a tourist attraction. Some at the meeting consider the turbines will affect their business if Seil becomes a less attractive place for visitors. When asked why the young family were offering to involve the community the only answer given was that they thought it was the right thing to do. Some in the meeting thought this was either an incentive (or bribe) to gain community support... It was suggested that this would be attractive to the people of Kilmelford who would have no disadvantages and that negative public opinion could be expected from Clachan Seil where very fine scenery would be crowned by wind turbines. It was pointed out that failure to take up the offer would result in it being offered to a wider group as a regional cooperative model CONCLUSIONS If there is to be community involvement in the Clachan wind farm of three community council area we will need to set up a joint committee to form a community development company with immediate effect. Even if we find that the community is firmly opposed to the farm it would be wise to set this in motion, as if planning permission is granted despite opposition from the community it would be too late at that stage to set up the trust to ensure that we benefit. I would expect that opponents of the scheme once defeated would wish there to be community benefit as a compensation for the loss of environment and amenity. There are five options 1. Do nothing 2. Oppose the plan If the farm is built we have 3 more options. 3. To take a share of the profit as offered. I understand this to be a royalty investment Agreement 4. To buy into the scheme with a community co-operative model or 5. Shared Community ownership QUESTIONS For what would we use the revenue? Does FOLI indicate community needs that could be met in this way? Proposed steps 1. Meeting of the three community councils, or a committee of three from each to form a joint working group. To prepare opinion survey questionnaires and decide the quickest and most efficient methods of obtaining public feedback. 2. Prepare questionnaires and solicit opinions. Collect email address for all respondents ( this would provide a way of obtaining a cross section of opinion on other issues in the future 3. Encourage both for and against lobbies to make their case clear and public. 4. Obtain a clear and representative picture of what the community would like to see done. There needs to be clear objectives. Not just a decision to take a share of wind farm profits. But to have a clear plan as to what the money raised would be used to do to benefit the 3 communities. How this would be divided and how decisions would be made. I.e. a clear “road map” or plan of what might be done. (Possible projects could include: cycle paths and footpaths on Seil. A fund for home care, grants for youth activities.) 5. Decide who is prepared to put in the considerable work involved in a community Project of this scale. Appoint people who can undertake the legal and administrative work of running a company. 6. For this and other consultations I would suggest that we should recruit at least 100 people on the island as a panel of Community opinion respondents who will agree to complete short question documents sent from time to time by email. This would enable us to be able to quote public opinion based on a sizable sample, with some credibility. PERSONAL THOUGHTs I think Rory Young must realise that three communities will find it hard to take up the offer in the time available. (Elsewhere the first to sign up has taken on the project and excluded neighbouring communities) It is probably to the advantage to the Young family if they do not have to share profit with the three communities. As far as I can see this proposal to quote Mike Shaw’s e-mail “will certainly scar the Toad of Lorn” The farm will crown the Brendan’s seat and is likely to be visible from Mull, Jura, the Firth of Lorn, sound of Seil and dominate the scene for any property with a window facing the hill. We have a duty to inform people of this as well as to gain opinion on the various options on engagement, and the appropriate path for community sharing. It should be noted that the whole of Clachan Seil as far as Hazelmount will be within 2 km of two of the proposed turbines. On these grounds the proposals should be rejected as the effects on health are well reported. Further reading http://www.westcoastrenewables.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Clachan-Seil-Windfarm- Scoping-Report.pdf Visibility of proposed turbines (This was not discussed at the meeting) Visible on Mull, Jurua and Morven. Note high degree of visibility on Seil. Sound will exceed the 30 decibel limit but will be monitored. (I am not sure how that will help to reduce the effect on those houses. For information this table translates decibels. Table of sound levels L (loudness) and corresponding sound pressure and sound intensity Sound Sources Sound Pressure Sound Pressure p Sound Intensity I 2 2 Examples with distance Level Lp dBSPL N/m = Pa W/m Jet aircraft, 50 m away 140 200 100 Threshold of pain 130 63.2 10 Threshold of discomfort 120 20 1 Chainsaw, 1 m distance 110 6.3 0.1 Disco, 1 m from speaker 100 2 0.01 Diesel truck, 10 m away 90 0.63 0.001 Kerbside of busy road, 5 m 80 0.2 0.0001 Vacuum cleaner, distance 1 m 70 0.063 0.00001 Conversational speech, 1 m 60 0.02 0.000001 Average home 50 0.0063 0.0000001 Quiet library 40 0.002 0.00000001 Quiet bedroom at night 30 0.00063 0.000000001 Background in TV studio 20 0.0002 0.0000000001 Rustling leaves in the distance 10 0.000063 0.00000000001 Threshold of hearing 0 0.00002 0.000000000001 The sound level depends on the distance between the sound source and the place of measurement, possibly one ear of a subject. The sound pressure level Lp in dB without the given distance r to the sound source is really useless. Unfortunately this error (unknown distance) is quite often. The speakers were clearly selected for their belief in the financial benefits of wind farms. The potential effects of wind farms on wild life, sites of antiquity, the health of people within 2km, noise levels and visual impact were wither not discussed or dismissed as minimal. At the meeting I thought the turbines were referred to as small only 15m high on reading the scoping report 1009 I must have misheard the tours are to be 56m high and the total height 80 meters and will be visible from places 15 nMiles away (17miles) While I attended this meeting in a neutral frame of mind and thought the community council should simply inform the community and pass on both sides of the debate I am now firmly of the view that we MUST oppose the plan on the grounds that the turbines will be less than 2km from the community of Clachan Seil. For this reason we would be failing our community if we do not strongly oppose the plan. If we fail to stop the project we should be able to rapidly seek to ensure that those adversely affected will benefit from income at a higher level than communities that are 12 miles away and will not be adversely affected.