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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Community participation

It is very disappointing that MWT have chosen not to participate in the Renewable Energy Conference being held next week, although the whole thing appears to be rather haphazard and ill-defined.

It surely doesn't matter if it is a requiem for the LWP application or packed full of pro-windfarm supporters, it would be an opportunity to given their side of the argument - and if they honestly believed that refusal was imminent - to explain again why they believe the community was excluded from the process, and why development should be restricted.

Of course, MWT have said that the conference is not 'proper' community consultation, which would be a valid argument were the conference were about consultation. Which it is not, but appears to be an opportunity for blue-sky thinking, or throwing possibilities into the mix.

At least that is what it appears to be. The link on the Hebrides News website to the agenda doesn't work and the Comhairle are being incredibly reticent about putting anything on their website.
    Is it open to the public?
    Presumably my invite is in the post?
    Who is actually participating and when are they speaking?
    Are there fringe events?
    Do I have to do an FoI request to find out it is even taking place?
Get your act in order! All of you.


Anonymous said...

The Comhairle are incredibly reticent about putting ANYTHING on their website. Most recent minutes are often of meetings several months ago. Contact information is out of date. Policy is either buried so deep it's difficult to find, or not there at all.

Bottom line: the Comhairle hate technology, especially the Internet. The "net" means that people can find out things; information transparency; makes self-interest and inproper practice more difficult to carry out and hide. And that's why they hate it. It's completely against the culture and self-interest of the senior layers of Comhairle management.

I challenge anyone to find a worse council website, than the Comhairle website, anywhere in the UK.

Angus said...

During the consideration of the windfarm applications there were a large number of FoI requests, which tended to overlap.

I tried to ensure that everything to do with the applications went onto the website, and FoI requests could be pointed there.

I had no success, with the result that staff spent hours and hours photocopying the same stuff and answering identical letters.

Anonymous said...

From someone who has seen an invite, let me clarify Angus:

Is it open to the public? NO.



Are there fringe events? NO! (as its a circus candy floss may be availale however)

Do I have to do an FoI request to find out it is even taking place? LOOKS LIKE IT - BUT MIND THEY WILL TAKE 21 DAYS TO GET BACK TO YOU, SO NO POINT REALLY.

With the Comhairle speech titled "Energy Strategy 2000-2008", it doesnt appear to be that much of a forward looking conference! Post-morten would be a fair summary and make MWT, RSBP etc the scapegoats for ruining the islands golden egg (sic) future .........

MWT and Tourist Board have dropped out I am told. RSBP still negotiating whether they show up. A certain officer is begging MWT to turn up to save his own skin, otherwise it looks like a farce again, especially to Jim Mather, who said he would only come if it was an open summit with community involvement.

Classic Comhairle cock-up and fiasco

Angus said...


I think I may be persona non grata in the White House, so this was a tongue in cheek comment. I have too much else to do to spend all day listening to a lot of self-serving but ultimately pointless speeches.

Anonymous said...

Remember the Comhairle didnt invite MWT to their 'consultation' at the white House a couple of years ago. They have always sneared and abused local people.

So why should MWT appear now, when the Comhairle need them to get out of jail?

Who wants to go anyway? To see what? Campbell making a burk of himself as he attempts to brown nose Mather, Price and Hodgkinson. A bunch of geriatric councillors showing how ignorant they are and set in their free church ways

Anonymous said...

Can We Deliver Energy for the Benefit of the People and the Community?


11:00 Welcome & Introductions
Cllr. Alex MacDonald, Convener, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

11:10 Scene Setting
Economy, Community, Environment and the Energy Potential

11:20 Mr. Jim Mather, MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy & Tourism
Keynote Address

11:45 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
2000 – 2008: The Strategic Approach

12:00 Highland and Islands Enterprise
The Potential for Energy Generation in the Development of the Economy

12:15 Stornoway Trust
Can Energy Generation Support Community Aspirations?

12:30 Lewis Wind Power
A Developers Perspective – Doing Business in the Outer Hebrides

12:45 Mr. Angus Brendan MacNeil, MP
Energy and the Outer Hebrides: What Should We Aspire To?

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Scottish Natural Heritage
Our Approach to Energy Development in the Outer Hebrides

14:15 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Myth or Reality: Do We Oppose All Developments in the Outer Hebrides?

14:30 Moorlands Without Turbines
Views in Regard to the Development of Energy in the Outer Hebrides

14:45 VisitScotland Outer Hebrides
A Mass of Research and Contradictions – What Are the Real Impacts?

15:00 Tea / Coffee

15:30 Western Isles Development Trust
The Potential Benefits and Our Proposals to Disburse These Benefits

15:45 Lews Castle College
Innovation, Research and New Technologies – We’re Delivering This Locally

16:00 Highlands & Islands Community Energy Company
Our Approach to Energy Development in the Outer Hebrides

16:15 Dr. Alasdair Allan, MSP
The Economy and Energy: An Opportunity to be Seized – Or Not?

16:30 Panel Session: Question and Answer
What Did You Make of What You Heard? Your Opportunity to Quiz the Speakers:
o Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
o Highlands & Islands Enterprise
o Moorlands Without Turbines
o Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
o Dr. Alasdair Allan, MSP

17:30 Close

Anonymous said...

I see Alasdair Allan has got the inspirational graveyard spot for a full 15 minutes. They obviously value his involvement.

Energy and the Outer Hebrides: What Should We Aspire To?
I hear that Angus MacNeil is going to focus his speech on his energy expending trip to Orkney or was it Shetland a couple of years ago. Apparently he found it quite aspiring........

Anonymous said...

as a member of samaritans, i think it advisable to check whether the suicide rate goes up on 17th, particularly after 17:30pm

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:54pm

No volunteer for the Samaritans would make such a blithe remark about suicide.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:59, they obviously value AA's involvement more than yours. How long is your "spot" for?

Anon 12:54, I hope to God it's not you on the other end of the phone if I ever feel like ending it all and need help. You'd be a catalyst for suicide, you miserable sod.

You small band of brothers (and the odd sister?) that constantly carp about the MP/MSP really don't have much good to say about anyone, do you?

Anonymous said...

with an agenda like that i hope all sharp objects are hidden before the start.

So what would be my first question.

"Mr Campbell, What exactly is you plan B?"

Anonymous said...

11:20 Mr. Jim Mather, MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy & Tourism
Keynote Address

"No, and thank you"

Mather sits down.............

Anonymous said...

Someone in the Comhairle obviously has a brain - cause they aren't letting muppet Campbell talk, and have handed the baton to Flossy.

Will the Vice be gagged and bound in a cupboard at the White House?

The Press says Bill Howatt is the Hostess with the Mostess. What stone did he crawl out from? What's he up to these days Angus? He was the one who lead the islands into the renewables pit was he not?

Anonymous said...

Howatt used to fly home at weekends back to Ayrshire. That showed his commitment to the islands and its people.

Angus said...

Incorrect. Bill Howat had a home here and he used to split his weekends between (his wife coming) here and him going to see her and his family. Not in Ayrshire.

He used to frequent local restaurants and pubs, as most of the Council staff will be able to testify, being quite the bon viveur(!) and enjoyed a good night out.

Anonymous said...

used your search facility and couldnt find this but if you and your readers ave seen this before then i apologise. Also can't remember (or be bothered, yes im lazy)your url ref open close invert substitute brackets etc. for links. BUT if you go to and type in turbine explodes you are in for a scare or a treat depending on your point of view. The info i was given was that turbine should have automatically cut out when wind speed reached a certain velocity!!

Anonymous said...

Ah well - 50% committed. More than most I suspect.

Anonymous said...


Guess you mean this

It shows a Vesta's turbine (same as proposed for Lewis) exploding in high winds.

Note winds are low compared to what we get here, and this is not a one off. There have been half a dozen similar incidents in Europe recently.

Would you really want to drive past this?

Anonymous said...

Note the contrast between the agenda posted here and that now on the Comhairle website

Looks like MWT and Tourist Board have opted out but they have been replaced by more pro groups. Hardly a balanced meeting.

Word summit made me smile. Whatever you call it it will only be effective if the Comhairle actually listen and act on what they are told.

Why isn't Jim Mather getting out into the communities (ie away from Stornoway) to meet locals rather than sitting in an Art centres listening to wind from a bunch of self important suits.

Anonymous said...

I see its also not as easy to do a sub-sea cable as is being intimated

Anonymous said...

Would you really want to drive past this?

Drive? - no chance. Do you have any idea just how dangerous driving in a car actually is? Thousands of deaths every year, many of them innocent third parties. Plenty of poor little birdies run down and mashed into a pulp daily.

Injuries caused by windfarms - NIL.

Let's tear up the roads across the Barvas Moor to protect the local population from driving injuries, and this will have the benefit reducing the miiscule risk for windfarms even further.

Anonymous said...

We deserve nothing on this island because there is no demonstrable evidence of the dynamism required to transform an economy. No grand vision, no big ideas just an unremitting decline into ridiculed and meaningless inactivity. What a situation; utterly exasperating. There is a blame culture where we point the finger at rapacious outsiders, who are merely convenient scapegoats for our own inadequacies. What does it say about us, are we so incapable of the slightest measure or responsibility without making a complete dogs breakfast of it. What a bunch.

Anonymous said...

cannot find either of the 'tini' references

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.20

It is worth noting that the turbine shown self destructing in high winds near Århus, Denmark was a 10 year old turbine and they were working on it at the time. Vesta have 35000 turbines running worldwide, and a lot of R&D money has gone into improving efficiency and safety features in the years since this model was put into service.

Also, the average annual wind speed in Århus, Denmark over the past 17 years was 12mph. compared with 16 mph over the past 21 years for Stornoway. Granted we have more variation compared to Århus' fairly uniform wind speeds, but in the case of high windspeed failures this is a moot point as the problem seems to have been caused by a failure in the breaking mechanism which is supposed to kick in in high winds anyway, regardless of whether they are Danish or Lewis high winds!

Like any technology, wind turbines are subject to the occasional failure and also the occasional spectacular failure and I won’t pretend that I’d like to be anywhere near a turbine when that particular combination of variables is in effect. I've also heard that planes crash now and again, but you don’t see people objecting to airports on safety grounds very often. Also, someone once told me that ferries sink, and yet most of us still use them. Oil rigs are far more complicated than wind turbines and when they go wrong it can be devastating. People rarely object to them on safety grounds though, perhaps because they are out of sight? And as for cars, just see MWT are pathetic NIMBYs comment.

Anonymous said...

Like the URL via the link "it can be devastating"

I didnt know AA had his own website.

Anonymous said...


Pure class - took me a moment, but I get you now

Anonymous said...

anonymous 10:20, i was under the impression these turbines had a 20 year lifespan on the moor. So your point that the exploding one in denmark was 10 years old kind of has me worried. do they all explode after 10 years or just the ones that need work doing to them?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:20pm; I assume you are addressing that question to me? My post was a response to Anonymous 10:20pm and Anonymous 8:31 am.

I would refer you to the part where I said "Like any technology, wind turbines are subject to the occasional failure and also the occasional spectacular failure".

I see a brand new house burnt down recently. This is very sad and I feel awful for the people who had spent all that time and money building their home only for it to be taken away so quickly. However, this tragic incident has not convinced me that I should move into the shed. How about you?

Anonymous said...

MWT are pathetic NIMBYs

With your logic, as only 20% of all road deaths are caused by drink drivers, which means 80% are caused by sober drivers, would you advocate getting rid of all the sober drivers on our roads as the drunk drivers cause less death's?