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Arran branch of CND reformed
Despite dreadful weather, 24 people attended an interesting meeting at the Ormidale Pavilion in Brodick about nuclear disarmament.
The meeting heard from the Rev John Webster about the history of CND and the long standing policy of the Church of Scotland in favour of nuclear disarmament. Elsa Rodeck and Isla Blair of Arran Women in Black spoke about their regular witness for peace on Arran.
The inclusively of Scottish CND was emphasised: being for people of all faiths and none, for pacifists and those who saw the need for conventional military forces, for supporters of all political parties and for those on each side of the Scottish Independence debate.
After a full discussion it was agreed that there was real interest in forming a branch of Scottish CND on Arran.
Two key issues were highlighted in this interesting discussion:
1. How risks from nuclear conflict have recently been exacerbated due to the present challenging political climate and
2. The need for increased awareness of this issue among younger people
People can easily join SCND online or at the next meeting which will be held on Saturday December 2 in the Ormidale Pavilion, Brodick from 2pm to 4pm.
Adapt driving for roads
It was interest that I read the criticism of Arran’s roads as described by the correspondent from Weston-super-Mare in the last week’s edition of the Banner.
I am minded to draw your correspondent’s attention to page 48 of the 2015 edition of the Highway Code, Rule 146 which says: ‘Adapt your diving to the appropriate type and condition of the road you are on … take road and traffic conditions into account … be prepared for difficult situations.’ That says it all, doesn’t it?
Writing as a cyclist, I can attest that Arran’s roads have improved but when descending the Boguillie at 40 to 50mph there are some potholes that constitute a serious risk to the imprudent rider.
Development at all costs
Last Saturday I opened The Arran Banner and read that the Isle of Arran Distillery is up for the best brewery/distillery tour category in the Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards.
At the same moment, I received notification by post from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) that it has reached its determination to grant a licence to the Arran Lochranza Distillery to discharge up to 60,000 litres per day of mixed distillery effluent over 2 x 3 hour periods each day into Kilbrannan Sound. It is proposed that effluent from the distillery is transported to the outfall head by road tanker.
The sea outfall is to be located at Rubh Airigh Bheirg, an important geological area, 2.5km SW of Catacol on scenic, unspoilt coast. SEPA decided that the ‘relative remote isolation’, ‘relatively small volume’ and #lack of protected areas’ reasons that formal consultation with external organisations was unnecessary.
I have no doubt the distillery runs brilliant tours and tastings but what will their punters and Arran residents and visitors think of the discharge, a tanker every day spilling effluent down a pipe by the roadside? The smell of organic effluent along a wonderful stretch of coast where tourists often stop to look at the Lennimore and North Thundergay graveyard, and at the geology of metamorphism and the tectonically deformed Dalradian rocks? It is an ideal picnic area.
What is happening to Arran? Is it economic development at all costs, especially to our precious marine environment, our sense of beauty as we travel the island, our sense of community? If the distillery is doing so well, and their PR tells us that, ‘the award-winning Isle of Arran Distillery visitor centre at Lochranza welcomed a record number of visitors last year. 104,000 people made the journey to find ‘the Arran Waters’ in 2016 – a 93 per cent increase since 2012, and 18 per cent increase on 2015′, then come on distillery and treat your waste properly, on site, produce power for your establishment, and do not use the discredited ‘dilute and disperse’ method of no payment waste disposal into our beautiful marine environment. SEPA is setting a dangerous precedent for Arran waters.
Arran needs some strategy for development, or we will lose the very precious things people come here for … the coast, the marine environment, the sense of unspoilt place. First the Scottish Salmon Company, now Arran Distillery, what next?