It’s been heartening to see the many statements of support on the Highland Council ePlanning website for the community turbine – mostly from local residents and also many of our ‘diaspora’ who were brought up here and still call it home, and many others who have long and strong associations with Coigach and are known by many here. Every one is a considered and balanced view, from people who see the proposal in the round, acknowledging that the benefits to the community far outweigh any impact a turbine may have for those who are set against them. Here’s a great example from the website from local schoolboy Joseph Peach – it’s a bit of a long read, but worth every word of it:
“I am writing to you to express my wholehearted support for the Achiltibuie’s community wind turbine planning bid, reference: 13/02582/FUL. Having spent my whole life in the village I, along with the majority of the local population understand the hardships of living in a small community and believe that the benefits of this wind turbine would do much to alleviate or lessen some of these difficulties. Along with the majority of the young adult population of Achiltibuie, I am soon going to leave the village to participate in higher education, but I know for a fact that like many others I do one day wish to return to Achiltibuie and settle. This is something which is becoming increasingly difficult to do though, due to a lack of jobs, opportunities and affordable housing. The sad fact is that Achiltibuie is becoming a place where locals are being priced out of the housing market, the school roll is dropping year on year and a place where young people are finding it impossible to either return or continue to live in Achiltibuie. I strongly believe that the proposed wind turbine would help to reverse the decline in the population of Achiltibuie. I have no doubt that the CCDC will be able to use its income to create affordable housing and business opportunities. In my opinion, the success of this wind turbine is vital to the future of my home. While there are opponents to this scheme, it is my opinion that its potential benefits greatly outweigh the possible negatives. While the wind turbine will make a visual change to Achiltibuie’s iconic landscape, I find it hard to believe that this change would have any impact at all on the local tourist industry. Since the Burradale wind farm in Shetland was erected in December 2000, the number of available tourist beds in Shetland increased from 1677 to 1777. While this is not a massive increase, I feel it exemplifies the point that any sort of wind turbine development does not necessarily equate to a decline in the tourist industry. There are also those who argue that the proposed development will spoil Achiltibuie’s “iconic landscape” or “beautiful scenery”. As a local I am hugely appreciative of my surroundings and feel privileged to be able to live amongst them, but I think that there needs to be an understanding of the fact that Achiltibuie is not just an image on a postcard, or an idyllic retreat. It is a living breathing place where locals work hard to make a living. To me it seems selfish and inconsiderate for anyone to bemoan the local population’s attempts to preserve their community and ensure its continuing existence on the argument of the visual impact of a 55 meter wind turbine. To put its “impact” into perspective it is worth noting that this 55 meter wind turbine will be located next to a 743 meter peak in a very small area of the 50 square miles that make up the Coigach peninsula. To conclude, I believe that this wind turbine is vital to the future health of my community. I one day wish to return to Achiltibuie and I am sure that the income from this turbine would help to make this feasible. I do not wish to see more local businesses close, young local people having to leave in search of opportunities or the school role declining any further than it already has. I hope that you’ll take this into consideration when making a decision on the planning application of Coigach Wind Power Ltd.”
What a great endorsement of our community project! Have you submitted a supporting comment yet? Please do by simply following the links on our previous post on this site…and if you already have, then thank you!