Meeting notes: 12 February 2012, Kyle Rhea Liason Group

Meeting held in Glenelg Village Hall
Attendees:

  • Stuart MacPherson (SM), Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Ian Philp (IP), Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Emma Maclean (EM), Local Development Officer
  • Joseph Kidd (JK), Marine Current Turbines (MCT)
  • John Angus Maclean (JM), Glenelg & Arnisdale Community Council
  • Michael Francis (MF), Glenelg & Arnisdale Development Trust
  • Andy Law (AL), Kylerhea resident
  • Jim Coomber (JC), Isle of Skye Ferry (CIC)
  • John Bannister (JB), Kylerhea resident
  • Bruce Taylor, Forestry Commission
  • Gemma Keenan (GK), Royal Haskoning

Summary notes of discussion:

  1. Summary from last meeting was reviewed.
  2. SM introduced DL as new MCT representative based in Inverness.

Project Progress (JK)

Summary from first meeting was reviewed, SM highlighted that press release was included in WHFP.

JK gave update on project progress since last meeting:

Grid connection – meeting held with SHETL who indicated that there the existing grid is full and spare capacity will only become available once planned HVDC link to Western Isles is completed in 2015.

Navigation – meetings held with Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), presented navigation fairway with appropriate marking and lighting, next step to meet Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) who are responsible for assessing risk to navigation. SeaGen Kyle Rhea Ltd will then host a Hazard Identification Workshop, likely in late April, with representatives from all the marine users, as part of the risk assessment process to feed into the EIA.

MCT ownership – Siemens has increased its stake in MCT and is now majority shareholder. This is likely to increase the chances of the project moving forward as potential investors would have more confidence in the technology. JK stressed that this would not affect the company SeaGeneration Kyle Rhea Ltd and it would still be expected that other investors would come in and take the project forward.

GK gave an update on the EIA being carried out:

Shore based surveys for marine mammals and birds are ongoing.

Bird element will be written up by the company contracted to undertake the surveys, NRP.

We are commissioning specialists to analyse and report on the marine mammal data.

Underwater noise specialists will be contracted to collect measurements to determine the baseline noise in Kyle Rhea. Modelling will then be done based on the construction and operational noise data from Strangford against the ambient noise levels in Kyle Rhea. The modelling will also take in to account scaling up for 4 devices from the single device in Strangford.

Landscape/ seascape specialists will visit the site to collect photographs and inform an assessment of the visual impacts.

Terrestrial survey will be undertaken to map the broad habitats across the site and identify potential for important species which may require more detailed survey.

The need for intertidal survey will be discussed with SNH and will depend on the method for bringing the cables ashore and therefore whether there is potential to effect the intertidal ecology.

Otter surveys will be completed.

Archaeologists will be survey the site and undertake literature reviews to determine the levels of archaeology interest at the site. They will also review geophysical data which has already been collected at the site.

Seabed survey will be undertaken by lowering a video camera from a small boat which will then be analysed along with the geophysical data to provide a habitat map of the survey area.

Seabed mapping and discussions with SNH will determine the need for diver surveys.

Tristan Southall is on board to provide fisheries liaison.

We are working with SNH to ensure the approach to the EIA meets their requirements and will therefore allow an informed consenting decision to be made.

JB highlighted that the Kylerhea Community Group had carried out a survey looking at whether residents were for or against the proposed project. For 2, Undecided 4, Against 16. The main reasons given for opposition were a mix of visual impact, navigation and environmental impact. JK highlighted that the 3-year Environmental Monitoring Programme in Strangford Lough had now finished and the report was publically available, JK will send to EM to circulate.

It was proposed that SeaGeneration (Kyle Rhea) Ltd will hold another public exhibition and Q&A session focussing on the environmental impacts to try and address peoples concerns. Suggested that this would coincide with next Liaison Group meeting in May.

Impact on tourism was also raised as a concern with significant numbers of visitors to the Forestry Commission otter hide. GK stressed that this would be covered in the EIA. It was suggested that it would be good to get a baseline of visitors numbers as part of the assessment, SeaGeneration (Kyle Rhea) Ltd, together with the Forestry Commission will look at the possibility of installing an automatic counter in the hide.

AL highlighted that there should be lots of relevant environmental data and reports from the Skye bridge development and other restoration projects available from the Forestry Commission and / or SNH.

JB highlighted traffic impacts as another concern, GK confirmed that this would be covered in the EIA, the majority of transport of large items will likely be by boat to the site.

IP asked about contact with RYA, JK confirmed that they would be contacted but they were keen to speak to the MCA about the proposed navigation solution first.

SM stressed the importance of job creation from the project and that the Liaison Group would be a good forum for highlighting opportunities, JK will send Supply Chain report to EM to circulate, and include employment opportunities as a section in the Project Update.

SM highlighted that GADT was looking at the possibility of investing in the project and was in discussions with Alex Salmond. MF will report on progress.

JK highlighted that the Highland Council is holding a conference on Community Benefit related to renewable energy projects. MF confirmed that he was also attending. Both will report on what comes out of conference.

Next meeting

It was agreed that the HIE Offices in Auchtertyre were a convenient location for everyone so the meeting room will be booked again for the next meeting towards the end of May. EM to confirm.

Kyle Rhea Tidal Development

Review are closed.

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