Linda Grainey takes issue with a Largs community councillor voicing support for the XLCC development at Hunterston...


Dear sir,

In response to Jamie Black's stated euphoria regarding the Hunterston XLCC project as reported on the front page of the Largs and Millport News recently- I do wish that he would take the time to find out about the experience of residents. Perhaps he has and is just not bothered; does not care.

I attended XLCC's public information sessions, in Largs and Fairlie. To state, in the first instance, that we were not long out of Covid restrictions - folk still social distancing, wearing face coverings, etc. We have all been a little traumatised, understandably, by all the deaths, anxiety and even fear.

It has to be said, that folk were presented with a 'mock-up' illustration of the proposed Extrusion Tower, which is no way, reflected the colossal, height of the construction, at over 600 feet, nor the width ie greater than the height of our nuclear power plant buildings, no longer generating electricity, of course, but still pretty imposing and invasive of our land and sea-scape. My own dad was a manager at Sellafield and we are very grateful for the, potentially, very hazardous work that NPP folk do, but some might even describe as a "eyesore".

Well this colossal 'carbuncle of Scotland', will be much worse.

It was, also, depicted as amidst hills, with no habitation, in sight, whatsoever....!

We were not, really, told about the extent and magnitude of the "associated buildings", factories, research laboratories, etc. The size of 40 FULL-SIZE FOOTBALL PITCHES! Not until after the deadline for members of the public to submit objections.

Then there is the very extensive infrastructure required to transfer, literally, tens of thousands of miles of plastic insulated cable, which is to go into the ocean sea-bed, on to the jetty, in Fairlie and subsequently, on to a cable ship. The factory will be operating 24-7, 365 days of the year and the transfer by machinery, on to a cable ship, will, again, be 24-7, for eight months of the year.

I was, myself, impacted by such cable ships - back in 2016, when the "Giulio Verne" was here, for a fortnight, in June and the brand new, "Maersk Connector", almost three weeks, (was, only, supposed to be for ten days, but was, absolutely, intolerable, almost immediately), in the August.

So I know, exactly, just how awful it was - a constant, invasive, pulsing sound. It was, absolutely, beyond human endurance. I wrote in our 'Wee Paper', at the time: "Have they developed a new sonic weapon...?" 

Also - like so many locals and visitors, over generations and those to come - I enjoy and benefit from, immensely, the views and walking in Fairlie, (I don't want to see the place 'destroyed').

Jamie does not reflect the views and concerns, of local residents and folk do not feel that Largs Community Council should be supporting activities, which cause 'harm-to-health'. Nothing seems to change with Largs Community Council. 

Back in 2017, when residents all over Largs, from Pencil View,  right over the other side of Largs ie at Boathouse Road, central Largs, around Waterside Street and Halkshill Drive and right up the back of Largs, too - were all, severely, impacted by 'way-too-powerful', to be onland, (onshore) wind turbines, at very least, unable to sleep and many folk across Largs, Fairlie and Cumbrae, were experiencing acute head and chest pains, cognitive impairment, hearing loss and even breathing difficulty, when those machines were turning.

Health and safety should, at all times, be paramount and according to human rights legislation, enshrined in the 1998 Scotland Act, we have the right to "live safely and peacefully,  in our homes."

I, personally, have letters from North Ayrshire Council Environmental Health Officers, which state that, when they investigated the horrendous sound from the cable ship, that they "identified exceedence of NANR45", "a steady rumbling noise" and "a low frequency tone". England's Planning Legislation requires that, "wherever low frequency noise may be occurring, that NANR45 must be applied." Also, "where sound is pulsing in nature". It is the nature/character of the sound, (not the loudness), which is "low frequency" ie "thumping", "pulsing", etc.

We assume that the same protections apply for the citizens of Scotland and indeed, with regard to XLCC's, current application, NAC environmental health officers have stated that, "NANR45 must be addressed." It has not been so, as yet, by XLCC.

I agree that the stratospheric rise in the cost of 'essentials', is horrifying and I think that the government should subsidise certain items, such as 'baby formula', (I am trying to donate that, as an item, to our 'Foodbank', now - but at over £10 a tin - cannot do that every week), bread, milk, tea, cheese, eggs, etc.

The reason given, that food prices are much higher, at the moment, than in other countries and across Europe, is that the UK is 'locked into', particularly, high energy prices. Morocco, as a member of the "Arab League" ie Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc., is, perhaps, not 'best' to buy from - 'cos will, likely, only, replicate the high cost of oil - controlled by the "Arab League" countries, for many years now, as folk know.

Surely - we could have a factory, providing jobs, which does NOT require 24-7 operation and which does NOT require massive ships, at Hunterston Jetty. Again, operating machinery 24-7, to transfer tens of thousands of miles of cable on to, "a cable ship, (not built yet), which will be larger than any, currently, in existence", Alan Mathers of XLCC said, at May 26, 2023, NAC planning committee meeting.

When the jetty was, originally, consented for construction, there were "no night-time activity, operation, permitted", conditions applied. What happened to those...?

There is, absolutely, no comparison with Kariskrona, in Sweden, which is a massive, naval Port, (Sweden's largest), with umpteen warships, submarines and according to Wikipedia, five docks.

Give us a break North Ayrshire Council and about time, that you did a better job of protecting our citizens.

Largs Community Council should reflect upon the fact, that if you chase all the retirees away and indeed, Largs, including Fairlie, becomes no longer, a desirable retirement area, then our local businesses will suffer. They need the support of locals, during the week and during the winter months.


Linda Grainey (resident)