I RECENTLY raised the issue of the democratic deficit so graphically illustrated in the decision by North Ayrshire Council planners to approve a series of wind turbines on Holy Isle off the coast of Arran and in doing so choosing to ignore the overwhelming number of objections from the community (“Unholy row breaks out over Buddhist monks’ wind farm”, The Herald, October 3, and Letters, October 3). It seems however there is another dimension which has been overlooked by the applicant, the Samye Ling Buddhist movement, which owns the island.
Back in 2003/4 concern arose within another Buddhist organisation, The Tharpaland Retreat Centre, then located in the Forest of Ae in Dumfries and Galloway. A major wind farm development proposed nearby prompted them to examine their continuing ability to provide suitable conditions for meditative retreat which involved a well constructed practical study of the human impact of both audible sound and infrasound, sound outside the low frequency audible range, on a group of people well trained and practised in the skills of a deep meditative condition.
Three sites of wind turbines were chosen for the evaluation and the results surprised even the sponsors by their severe level of psychological and physical intrusion. The findings caused a considerable rumpus with the retreat centre, realising that its role would be completely compromised by the proposed Scottish Power Renewables development next door. The end result as I understand it was that the sect was bought out by the project and has relocated to Germany.
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Admittedly we are talking here about large slowly rotating wind turbines, but it seems to me that smaller, faster rotating turbines located right next to the retreat and training centre buildings on Holy isle could create the same meditation issues as found by their compatriates further south in Scotland and compromise the entire aim and values of the Samye Ling Movement. A check on the main Eskdalemuir location of the Samye Ling Buddhist Community confirms that it is more remote than any other community from any windfarm development in the Lowther Hills.
John M Campbell,
Blairbeg House, Lamlash, Isle of Arran.