CALL TO ACTION 21.3.19
***** What’s happening now? *****
On 20th March 2019, a Special Meeting of the Highland Council approved the remaining 3 run of river hydro schemes for Glen Etive. This means that all 7 schemes will now go ahead, unless we convince the Scottish Government to review them.
This is not easy, and so we need all hands on deck for this one!
We still think the best chance we have is to save the three rivers on the undeveloped south east side of the Glen. Bulldozers and concrete there would have the greatest impact on the ecology and landscape. These are Allt Ceitlein, Allt a’ Chaorainn and the Allt Mheuran.
***** What can I do? *****
• If you live in Scotland, email your MSP’s. You can email both your constituency and your regional MSP’s. There should be eight. Ideally you would send a personalised email to all of them. Please ask for the schemes to be reviewed by the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency.
You can find a list of MSP’s here: https://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx
• If you live either inside or outside Scotland, please write to the press! We keep saying it, but it does help to keep the matter in the public eye. Local, National, tabloid or broadsheet – news media is all useful. Radio, magazines and TV are of course superb as well (but harder to get!)
• If you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition at https://bit.ly/2Tm4hNV
***** What should I say? *****
Please keep your emails courteous. Include these points but use your own words:
• Mention that NGO Mountaineering Scotland have asked for a formal ‘call-in’ and you are writing to support that review process.
• Please also tell your MSP that Glen Etive is a unique landscape of National Significance, contributing to both Scottish identity and economy. Remind them that Glen Etive is treasured by visitors from all over the world and a crucial part of a nature-based economy generating 1.4 billion PA for the country as a whole. Point out that the glen is widely used for everything from sightseeing to adventure sports and photography and is a great advert for Scotland the brand as we move into a new political landscape post Brexit. You can get more statistics and information here http://saveglenetive.co.uk/raw-beauty/
• Please remind your MSP that the area is protected under three separate designations – these are National Scenic Area (NSA), Wild Land Area (WLA), and Special Protection Area (SPA). These are designed to ringfence unique and irreplaceable landscapes. The only exception to that is when an identifiable national social, economic or environment need is so important that it outweighs the damage done by developments. Point out to them that in this case, the energy produced is too small and too variable to overturn the designations. Remind them that the Scottish Government has already committed to offshore wind turbine generation as the most efficient method of meeting our commitment to renewal energy. Please tell them that they are swapping one problem (emissions) for another (loss of biodiversity & ecosystem services) and passing it on to the next generation – along with the costs of removal and restoration. You can find more information on designations here: http://saveglenetive.co.uk/designations-to-protect/
• Point out that the government’s own environmental advisory body, Scottish Natural Heritage, failed in its duties to assess the impact of these schemes properly. They failed to identify the impact that river water abstraction and the visual impact of pipes, intakes and roads would have on the special quality and identity of the glen as a whole. Tell your MSP that the schemes were viewed as individual applications rather than seen as a major development that would destroy the unique character of the glen. You can get more information on water abstraction and SNH’s error here: http://saveglenetive.co.uk/altering-river-flow/
• Please tell your MSP that the developer has completely failed to assess public safety issues for kayakers and other users of the glen, and the liability in the event of injury or death has yet to be agreed or resolved. You can find more information on that here: http://saveglenetive.co.uk/public-safety/
• Please inform them that developer has also failed to provide convincing evidence of full mitigation for the works that will be undertaken and that there is no way the work can be done without permanent and irreparable damage to the waterways and the surrounding land.
• You might want to highlight that on the same day the final three schemes were approved – 20th March, 2019 – the Scottish Land Commission published a report on highlighting how land monopolies concentrated power, inhibited economic development and caused harm to communities. This report recommended a public interest test, compulsory land management plans for estates, and a statutory land rights and responsibilities review. Suggest that perhaps some of the same rules should be applied in the case of Glen Etive, where an absentee landowner and a non-local developer are seeking to exploit both a local resource and an irreplaceable national asset.
• You could also say that there is strong local objection to the schemes, as well as support for them, and that the motion to refer the decision to full council was made by a local Councillor from Kinlochleven. On the two most sensitive schemes, the Highland Council vote was 25-17 and 27-15, so a significant number of Councillors are very concerned about impact despite SNH not objecting. You might want to say that the prospective financial and employment rewards to the immediate community do not reflect the profits generated, and that you would welcome any moves to revitalise this land and its people using land powers, new or existing. The four hydro schemes previously approved on the west side could help underpin this.
• Please finish by imploring your MSP to review the schemes as a matter of national importance, and directing them to view our evidence-based website at http://saveglenetive.co.uk/