Wind farm could end surfing paradise

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A PROPOSED offshore wind farm could put an end to a Scottish surfing paradise.

ScottishPower Renewables’ are planning to build a 140-square-mile

“forest’ of 300 turbines on the isle of Tiree.

But community leaders on the island say that the scheme will block the waves and impact on tourist numbers.

The island, dubbed the Hawaii of the north, is home to the annual Tiree Wave Classic, a huge windsurfing event attracting the international media and some of the world’s best surfers.

It is now feared that the event could stop if the wind farm plans were to go ahead.

The concerns were expressed in a submission to Marine Scotland, the Scottish Government body who plan and oversee the way Scotland’s seas are used, by campaign group No Tiree Array.

The report explains that the Argyll Array wind farm was of a

“magnitude bigger than has been modelled elsewhere in the past and where a noticeable damping effect (waves being weakened) has been determined. “

It is added:

“The swell we get on Tiree is generated in the mid-Atlantic, so by the time it reaches our shores it is well formed and defined – the forest of turbines would therefore have a greater impact on these waves.

The report also says that the development is likely to

“kill all water sport leisure activities and the related buoyant industry.

Robert Trythall, who chairs the campaign group No Tiree Array, said:

“The plan that is currently proposed represents the industrialisation of Tiree to its detriment.

“As a consequence one of the most significant negative impacts would be on its expanding, emergent and vibrant tourist industry. “

Craig Sutherland, 33, who runs Suds Surf School on Tiree, said:

“Most of the windsurfers come here to look for waves as well as the wind.

“They are basically surfing the waves but they have the sail as well so they can do aerial tricks, so they wouldn’t be able to do that either. “

ScottishPower Renewables have been given leasing rights for the stretch of ocean about three miles to the west of Tiree by the Crown Estate, which is responsible for the seas around Scotland.

The firm is expected to lodge a planning application in 2013 following a lengthy consultation process.

If consent is granted, the wind farm could start operating as soon as 2018.

A ScottishPower Renewables spokesman said:

“We are currently conducting a full assessment of all potential impacts regarding the development.

“This assessment will be a crucial part of the planning application. “

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