STATEMENT FROM MICHAEL RUSSELL MSP AND COUNCILLOR JOHN ARMOUR ABOUT SCOTTISH POWER RENEWABLES AND THE COMPANY’S STATED INTENTION TO RE-START WORK ON THE BEINN AN TUIRC WINDFARM
Firstly can we express our deepest sympathy with the family of Robert Black, one of the local paramedics, who died at the weekend as a result of Covid-19. His unique contribution to the community in Campbeltown and Kintyre will be remembered by many for a very long time and his selfless service is an example to us all.
We are grateful to Scottish Power Renewables for accepting that their intention to restart work on the Beinn an Tuirc wind farm today would have been totally inappropriate given the circumstances and we therefore welcome their decision not to do so.
The company have however indicated that they may start safety briefings for local staff on Wednesday and other work shortly thereafter. We oppose that decision.
Whilst we understand that Scottish Government regulations do permit some very limited re-opening of essential power related construction sites we do not believe it is safe to have incoming workers coming to Kintyre on a temporary basis and who will be returning to their homes elsewhere from time to time, risking the spread of the virus both into and out from the area. The only acceptable way to recommence activity on the site would be to use a local workforce which is permanently resident.
We therefore ask the company to reconsider its current decision and to wait until the current lock down has been significantly eased.
None the less if the company is determined to operate despite what we think is a near universal local view that it should not be doing so we will continue to seek from them not just a firm commitment to a complete separation between incoming workers and the local community, including in transportation to and from the site, use of local facilities including shops and contact with local businesses and residents but also a rigid adherence to social distancing at work and when not at work.
In addition we would wish the company to make sure, by testing, that all workers are free of the virus when arriving in the area and leaving the area and that there would be arrangements for social isolation if any show or feel symptoms.
We are communicating these views to the company today and we hope they will listen to them and enter into a positive dialogue about them before making any decision about re-starting work.