Development at all costs
Sir, 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?
Yours, Sally Campbell Lamlash