FCC Minutes – 11/01/21

Fairlie Community Council – Monday 11/01/2021, h. 07:30pm, Zoom meeting

FCC: Rita Holmes (Chair); Marco Piva (minutes taker); Alan Holden; David Nairn; David Telford; Ian Hunter
NAC: Cllr. Tom Marshall, Cllr. Alan Hill, Cllr. Ian Murdoch
Press: Calum Corral
Police: PC Simon Winsor
7 MoP (including Karla Tully, in charge of A78 issues)

Approval of December minutes: proposed by AHo, seconded by RH

Police report: 08/12/2020 to 11/01/2021: 35 calls of which 2 crimes (last year, 23 calls of which 2 crimes). One persistent caller due to neighbourhood complaints (including Covid19-related issues) increased the number.
The two crimes: 1 instance of vandalism (on Christmas and Boxing Day, paint was thrown on 5 cars parked on the main Road); 1 offence which took place in England but was reported by a local resident; PC Dominic Murphy is dealing with it.
FCC wants to express appreciation to the local Police force for their support in the present situation.

NA Councillors’ update: the Councillors will intervene as the various points are discussed

1: A78 (proposed pedestrian crossing)
Karla Tully has been leading this project since its inception; she gives the following presentation:
Survey has been done in late 2018/early 2019; KT personally met the Transerv Regional Manager in January 2019 and walked with him the length of the Main Street evaluating pros and cons of several possible locations for the new pedestrian crossing. The only site meeting all the possible criteria is at the foot of the so-called “Ho Chi Minh Trail”. Test readings have been done today (11/01), a consultation will be held in the next days. An external road safety consultant will be involved. The school’s PTA has been consulted. The signage in the village will be altered. The lollipop person shouldn’t be impacted (although they depend on NAC).
DN: the whole village should be a 20mph zone at school times
KT: we have been told that this won’t be possible as the A78 is a trunk road.
MoP: the new traffic light would be just past the bus stop; wouldn’t this be an issue with cars overtaking the bus?
MP: could the bus stop be moved 50 yds south?
KT: all this has been mentioned and will be considered

  1. Synchronous compensator
    AHo: a synchronous compensator is about the size of a delivery van, and it’d be housed in a building the size of a normal house designed to keep the noise in, with fan radiators outside; next to it there’d be a second building, roughly the same size, to house everything that’s needed for its operation. It is necessary to maintain the stability of the grid system, once Hunterston stops generating energy. The noise levels should be well under control. The nearest property is the cottage just before the Hunterston roundabout, 400 mt from the site; the owners and residents are aware of the application. Questions were asked as to why no actual real noise data had been provided with the Application for the Synchronous Compensator, as it was available from existing synchronous compensators, and it would be a preferable practice, rather than solely relying on theoretical noise data.
    DT: despite reassurances that the noise levels should be low, let’s file a request for a noise monitoring.
    AHi: wondering why this project is not being led by the national authority, as it is of national relevance and importance
  2. Peel Ports: application re variation of planning condition
    The point Peel are making is that defueling is a part of decommissioning; clarifications have been asked for.
    There will be the need for an EIA for the dredging, which can’t be done without compromising the station’s water intake; once the station is not operational, they will still need water but not as much as they do while operational
  3. Hunterston SSG update
    The anti-Covid19 measures on site are very strict.
    Work at HunterstonA is slow.
    Workers who have been on temporary contracts for over 9 years at HuntA are now permanent
    HuntB: Reactor 3 should be coming off line at the end of February; 6 more months of energy generation are possible after core inspections if core predictions are correct. Reactor 4 should follow the same cycle 2 weeks later, in March. Electricity will be produced, if possible, until late January 2022 and not later, no further extensions are possible; defueling will take 3 to 5 years, decommissioning will follow. It is unknown whether it will be NDA or EDF taking care of it.
    Next SSG on March 4th.
  4. Hunterston Parc/jetty
    Drill ships will remain stationed there for some time as they have no jobs to go to at the present time (the company has gone into receivership); the onboard ship generators will need to stay on 24/7 (as they are now) so the ships can remain on the ready. Allegedly, they are paying 8k£ per day in order to remain berthed at Hunterston (which is considered a fair/low price).
    Environmental Health had attended and measured noise from the drillships, as several complaints had been received. It was windy the day EH monitored and the noise specialist will return one late evening to measure noise inside properties.
    MoP: it is hardly “green” to be using polluting diesel generators to supply the drillships in what is supposed to be Hunterston Parc: Hub for Green Energy.
    FCC to write to Peel Ports again to ask about when mains electricity is to be available on the Jetty so we do not have to put up with unnecessary 24/7 noise.
    MoP complaining about the light pollution at night. Concerns were voiced over the vessels being at the jetty indefinitely as they did nothing for the scenic value of the area.
  5. Dawn Homes
    No news, the building of the flats is ongoing
  6. Coastal Path
    The works to N end of Ferry Row have started.
    MoP (Ferry Row resident): The Largs & Millport News seemed to be suggesting that the path may be diverted along the existing Ferry Row path; this has never been part of the plan nor it has ever been mentioned. Residents have been questioning this.
    Calum Corral (press): the info came from the Community Trust, it has been mentioned in the Church Newsletter
    IM will find further information

Calum C had an accident on his bike, a few weeks ago, in front of the church when a wheel got stuck after a fire hydrant cover fell in a fire hydrant hole, which resulted invisible as it was covered in water. Amey filled it within 24h, but it is something that people should be careful about

The next FCC meeting is on Monday 1st of February 2021  at 07:30 pm by Zoom (link for MoPs will be provided on request; MoPs present at this meeting and those who have already expressed their interest will receive it)

The Need for a Full In Depth Independent Investigation of Two Deep-Water Drill Ships out of control at Peel Ports Hunterston Jetty on Tuesday 2nd February 2021


This local Fairlie Community Council has requested a full and independent investigation inquiry into the incident involving the Valaris owned drill ships DS4 and DS8 which occurred on the evening of Tuesday 2nd February 2021. 

This document seeks to provide further detailed information and rationale in support of this request. 

This information is provided from the standpoint of concerned local residents who witnessed the event and who have researched, as far as external individuals can, the background and key points which they believe should be included in a formal independent investigation. 

The request for a full independent investigation is to ensure, as far as possible, that all the failures leading up to the incident have been identified, and to make recommendations which ensure that similar incidents will be prevented and to provide lateral learning to others to avoid repetition of the failures which led to this incident. 

The call for an independent investigation is entirely valid because this incident had very high potential, both in terms of environmental damage and also for the potential risk to the safety and lives of the ships’ crew members, the rescue service personnel, support boat crews, and also the safety of all those subsequently involved in the recovery operations. 

The only difference between the incident as it happened, and an incident in which both of these massive drill ships had been driven ashore on the rocky coast of the Great Cumbrae island, was LUCK. 

The incident investigation should be carried out with the detail and vigour which would take place if the latter situation had prevailed. The only difference between what happened on the night, and the grounding of both of these ships, is the outcome. 

It is clear that many management controls failed in this incident, resulting in one ship breaking entirely free from the jetty, and the other being on the point of doing so. 

Only the fact that the DS4 had its anchor already deployed, which in our view was part of a flawed mooring arrangement, saved the day and prevented both ships being driven ashore. The anchor appeared to have been utilised in the mooring operation as a substitute for a properly oriented bow line, which resulted from the berthing of two ships whose combined overall length exceeded that of the jetty head. 

Although the anchor was fortuitously already deployed, it was not immediately effective in preventing the downwind drift of the vessel. From AIS data we believe the anchor dragged from its original laid position, North of Fairlie Patch Buoy, approximately 0.5 mile to a position due West of the jetty head. Only at this point did it, again fortuitously, bite into the seabed and finally halt the ship’s drift towards the Great Cumbrae. At this point the anchor was already heading down the

seabed slope from its original laid depth of approximately 20m towards the mid channel depth of 45m. 

The Mayday call transmitted by DS4 triggered the emergency response. 

No tugs were on site at Hunterston, despite the fact that the strong, 40 knots plus, Easterly wind had been blowing for some considerable time. 

We also believe there was no Peel Ports management on site at Hunterston. 

Tugs had to be sent from Greenock, some 18 nautical miles away. Average tug speeds are around 11 to 12 knots and so a steaming time of an hour and a half is required to get to Hunterston. In addition there is the time required to make ready and cast off. 

Had the DS4 anchor not finally bit into the seabed the ship would likely have been aground on the Great Cumbrae shore in approximately 30 minutes, based on its rate of drift up to the point of the anchor holding. 

Clearly this is well in excess of the time required to get any tugs on scene from the transmission of the Mayday signal. 

When the tugs did arrive they did not go to the assistance of DS4, which by this time was secured by its anchor and was positioned approximately half way from the jetty to the Great Cumbrae shore. 

On arrival the tugs immediately went to the assistance of DS8 which was on the point of breaking free from the jetty. 

DS8 had no anchor already deployed, and had it broken free prior to the arrival of the tugs, would likely have been driven ashore in around 15 minutes, based on its high windage and total lack of anything to slow its drift. 

We believe the scenario outlined is entirely credible and as such provides the basis for a strong case for a thorough independent investigation. 

We believe this investigation should not be lead by Peel Ports or the Port Authority, which is also operated by Peel Ports. This arrangement does not provide an acceptable separation from the organisation involved in the incident and the organisation tasked with investigation. 

We firmly believe that the Marine Accident Investigation Branch should carry out the investigation of this incident and call the relevant parties in to provide evidence and statements.

This should include Valaris, as the ship owners, Noah Ship Management as the shipping agents, Republic of Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator as authority for flagging of the ships, and in particular for authorising any changes to manning levels, Intermoor as the providers of the mooring plan, the Providers of the original mooring lines, Peel Ports as the operators and owners of Hunterston Port and jetty, Peel Ports as port authority, Marine Coastguard Agency as incident co-ordinators, RNIB as emergency lifeboat providers, Prestwick SAR as helicopter rescue providers, Tug and support boat providers, Mooring line providers, Civil engineers or Government Agencies or Military Agencies with knowledge of the Hunterston jetty construction and its original design

parameters and expected life expectancy and current status, Contractors involved in the supply of replacement mooring lines, Crane hire company involved in the lift to remove the damaged gangway from the DS4 which was required in order to allow re-berthing of the vessel, and Any others involved in this incident and deemed to be relevant.

The reason for asking for such a wide range of organisations to provide input to this investigation is that we believe that this incident is extremely serious, and in order to get to all the root causes which contributed, a wide ranging and full investigation is required. Only by adopting this approach will the full learning outcomes be delivered. 

As outsiders we do not know what investigation activity has taken place so far. Ideally we would hope that interviews with all relevant people involved in the incident have already taken place and the outcomes recorded. 

In addition to these first hand interview statements we would wish to see the following aspects covered in the investigation, in addition to, or in reinforcement of, those areas that the MAIB would already consider. 

These are our initial queries, and they are not exhaustive, and in the course of any investigation it would be expected that they would lead to more questions. 


Examination of the detailed time-log of events recorded during the incident. 

A full time-log of the incident should be prepared which co-ordinates inputs from all the emergency services, support organisations, ship management and port management sources.

In addition to this basic time-log information the following time based aspects should also be considered: 

Rapid change of plan in accepting DS4 and DS8 at Hunterston. 

The original plan had been for the cable layer Castorone to come to Hunterston jetty on 21st December. AIS data showed that in mid December the Castorone was on route with Hunterston as its destination, but this abruptly changed to Rotterdam, and the owners Saipem had the courtesy to let Fairlie Community Council know that the vessel would indeed not be coming to Hunterston as initially planned. 

On 19th December Valaris DS4 was then underway from Las Palmas, where it had been located for several weeks, bound for Hunterston and was then closely followed by DS8. These ships had, immediately prior to this date, been destined to go from Las Palmas to Almeria in Spain, presumably for long term ‘preservation stacking’. 

The question this poses is: Did Peel Ports have sufficient time to conduct a proper risk assessment of the ‘preservation stacking’ berthing arrangements for these drill ships at Hunterston, given this rapid change in plan?

How long will the ships be held in this ‘preservation stacking’ mode? 

This has implications for the ongoing assurance of the secure berthing arrangements, including agreed manning levels and readiness status of the vessels, and for the environmental aspects of continuing electrical generation from on board diesel engines, and also for possible accumulation of non native invasive species on the ships’ underwater structure from known risk organisms in the area of the jetty, notably Carpet Sea Squirt, Didemnum vexillum. It also poses questions regarding the type of anti-fouling employed on these vessels. Is a TBT based system in use, and if so, have the environmental risks to the enclosed Clyde Estuary been evaluated?

If the ships will now require full on-board readiness to hold position through utilisation of main engines and/or dynamic positioning thrusters, what are the implications for crew levels and ongoing environmental damage from constant emission of diesel exhaust fumes?

Confirmation of the time taken after the Mayday call before the arrival of tugs on scene.

This is important for assessing the robustness of any backup assistance plan and raises questions such as the provision of tug assistance at Hunterston.

Time when DS4 had achieved propulsive power, and how long this was after it was requested by the Coastguard.

This is relevant in the event of a failure of the current tug response arrangements and the rate of drift of DS4. It may also have implications regarding the training and competence of the skeleton crew aboard DS4 at the time of the incident.


This is a complex area and requires full investigation. 

Valaris, the ship owners appear to have a well developed approach to Health, Safety and Environment as detailed in their HSE Policy document dated April 2019 and signed by their President and CEO Dr Tom Burke. This statement makes, among others, a commitment to ‘Identify the root causes of incidents and non-conformities, and apply measures to prevent reoccurrence.’ As such we would expect them to welcome this document in assisting them to achieve this commitment. 

However, Valaris as ship owners are in the midst of a demanding bankruptcy, debt for equity swap process, and business restructuring exercise. This poses questions regarding the focus of the Valaris senior management on the day to day operational aspects of the business.

Who in Valaris had operational responsibility for these ships?

What level of scrutiny was applied by Valaris to the long term berthing of these high value assets, approximately one billion dollars per ship, at the Hunterston jetty?

Has the Texas based judge who is overseeing the Valaris bankruptcy and restructuring plan, and the bond-holders who must agree the conditions of the restructuring plan been made aware of the near potential loss of the remaining two Valaris deep water drilling vessels? 

Valaris have already committed to the scrapping of the other three deep water drill ships of this class in their fleet. The loss of the two ships at Hunterston could have had dramatic consequences for the future of the Valaris business through capital loss, bond- holder confidence loss, and significant other reputational damage. These are credible consequences, had the incident taken the course we have presented as having only been avoided by luck. 

Have the Valaris board taken these factors into account in their decision making around the need for a thorough, in-depth investigation of this incident?

Ship Management company 

What were the responsibilities of Noah Ship Management, which is based in the United Arab Emirates, regarding the berthing arrangements at Hunterston?

What knowledge did Noah Ship Management have of Hunterston as a ‘preservation stacking’ base for high windage ships of the type DS4 and DS8?

Who determined the reduced manning levels for these ships?

Was the reduced manning level properly and legally authorised by the Maritime Administrator of the ships’ flag state of The Republic of The Marshall Islands?

Was a written request for Minimum Safe Manning Certificates submitted to the Maritime Administrator?

Did the Maritime Administrator approve the request?

Were the approval certificates available for inspection on the vessels as required?

These reduced manning issues are legally enforced and are internationally agreed. It is important that these factors are clearly investigated and either verified as being within compliance or not. If they are not in compliance this will require further investigation.

Company Providing the Mooring Plan 

Intermoor were the providers of the mooring plan. Failure of the mooring arrangements poses the following questions:

What responsibility does Intermoor have for the failures?

What detailed knowledge of the location, the jetty arrangements and design, the vessel parameters, in particular the wind loading, and the local meteorological conditions, did Intermoor have to allow them to calculate and specify the number, type and orientation of the mooring lines employed?

Did Peel Ports, as operators of the Hunterston jetty, supply detailed information as above to assist Intermoor in their calculations?

Peel Ports as Operators of the Hunterston Jetty and as Port Authority for the wider Clyde Estuary 

A significant conflict of interest arises from the involvement of Peel Ports as both a commercial operator and as Port Authority in the Clyde. This is particularly relevant in incident investigation situations such as the present example. 

This lack of independence can manifest itself in terms of standard setting and compliance monitoring, particularly in respect of safety and environmental controls. 

The commercial pressures to obtain business for the organisation should not outweigh the responsible controls. 

When both roles are within the same overall company structure an unhealthy tension can be created and can lead to poor decision making and management failures. 

The dual role of Peel Ports as both commercial operator and as Port Authority should be challenged as part of the longer term safety and environmental improvement plan for the Clyde area.

Peel Ports management presence on site at Hunterston is to all intents, absent. The site is essentially manned by a single security operator at the entrance gate. 

What management presence at Hunterston does Peel Ports claim to have at present? Given this latest incident, what management presence will Peel Ports introduce?

During the recovery operations required following the current incident several examples of breaches of safety practice took place on the jetty and were witnessed by local residents. 

Evidence of lack of clarity of required Personal Protective Equipment. Most organisations present had operators suitably equipped. However some operators involved with shore line replacement handling appeared to not be wearing life-jackets, despite being at the unprotected quay edge. 

During a difficult and high hazard lift operation to remove a damaged gangway from the starboard side of DS4, which involved the use of a large mobile crane located on the jetty, and the ship not yet moored but holding station close to the jetty, two of a team of five shore based operators, who were trying to control the load from below, were not wearing hard hats. This put them in serious danger from possible falling objects from the damaged gangway and was in breach of any good lifting practice and was clearly non compliant. 

Was there any Peel Ports management presence on the jetty during these safety critical aspects of the recovery operation?

If there was any Peel Ports management present on the jetty at these times why did they not stop the activity and ensure the proper Personal Protective Equipment was being worn by all personnel involved?

These questions are raised because the recovery activities are essentially part of the overall incident. 

Marine and Coastguard Agency, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Health and Safety Executive. 

We believe it would be appropriate for all three of these external agencies to be involved in the investigation of this incident. 

The MCA have much of the first hand incident information generated during the actual event, including clear time-logs. 

The MAIB are best placed to head the appropriate independent investigation. The HSE should be involved to examine any shore-side aspects. For example: Any shore-side risks arising from breaking of mooring lines under tension.

Risks to emergency personnel and others accessing the jetty at night in poor lighting conditions and severe weather in order to render assistance.

Investigation of the Health and Safety concerns outlined above during the recovery operation, and assessment of the appropriateness of the level of management presence at the site in general.

The three organisations have a Memorandum of Understanding for dealing with cross sector events, and it appears that this incident fulfils the requirements for such an approach. 


The skills and training of those involved in the incident should be examined. 

In particular the skills and training of the skeleton crew members should be explored in depth in order to establish whether they were adequate to deal with the situation on the night of the incident. 

Did they have sufficient knowledge to start the main engines when requested to do so by the coastguard?

If not, what was the reason?

Were people of the appropriate level in place, and were there enough of them? Was there a person of Captain level aboard at the time of the incident?

If not, what was the rationale for dealing with an emergency situation of this type or similar? SIMILAR EVENTS

Large ships being blown off berths is not a particularly uncommon incident. 

Most codes of practice and regulations rely on the readiness of the vessel to take appropriate action and to have sufficient trained crew in place to deal with such circumstances. 

They also rely on the appropriate availability of tug assistance at short notice in the event of on-board difficulties. 

In this incident it appeared that the ships had been left in an unready condition and with a much reduced crewing level. 

Why was this decision made?

Was the decision influenced by cost saving?

Was the decision influenced by the berthing offer made by Peel Ports?

The last question is important because Peel Ports have recent experience of a similar un-berthing incident in 2018. In this incident the Oceania Cruises ship ‘Nautica’ broke free from her berth at Greenock Terminal and had to summon tug assistance to prevent her drift and to get her back to the berth. The ship was an eleven deck design with very high windage characteristics, particularly when beam-on to the wind. These conditions are very similar to those encountered with the drill ships at Hunterston, albeit the wind during the latest incident was somewhat lower than that encountered in the 2018 event. 

Was the ‘Nautica’ incident investigated and by whom?

What lessons did Peel Ports learn from the ‘Nautica’ incident?

Did Peel Ports apply this learning to the berthing of the drill ships at Hunterston?


Environmental Aspects with possible impact on the incident 

The easterly wind at the time of the incident was high, but not abnormally so for this location at Hunterston 

The Largs Channel is well known as an area where high velocity, offshore, katabatic winds exist. 

The low temperatures at the time of the incident would have contributed to a small, but significant increase in air density and hence, by direct proportion to the wind loading on the ship. 

Much more importantly however was the peak wind velocity, and in particular at height. The wind loading on the ship at the point where the first lines parted would be determined by the square of the maximum wind gust velocity. At the higher parts of these ships the wind velocity will be considerably higher than at sea level. 

Given that it is well known that offshore winds in the vicinity of Hunterston are extremely gusty in nature, were any of the above factors communicated by Peel Ports to the ship owners, their agents or those involved in preparing the mooring plan, and before anyone took a decision to bring such high windage vessels to this location for long term, low manned, storage?

Change in environmental condition of the jetty following demolition activities 

In its original design the Hunterston jetty was equipped with two very large off-loading cranes, one substantial on-loader, and a high capacity overhead covered conveyor system. 

All this equipment has been removed. The jetty is now a bare structure. Any wind deflecting or attenuating features are now absent. This is particularly relevant to ships moored on the west side of the jetty and exposed to unabated easterly winds pushing them off the berth. 

The jetty head is approximately a kilometre from the shore line. There is consequently no, or very little, land based shelter as would be normally expected from trees, hedges, hillocks, buildings etc. on a shore based quay. Indeed the previous location of Hunterston National Offshore Wind Turbine Testing Facility some 1.5km away, and which claimed an environment similar to real offshore locations, would leave no doubt that this is an exposed site. The turbine test centre was located on Peel land. 

Locating two extremely tall drill ships, with a combined length in excess of the total jetty head length appears illogical, particularly if the intention was to leave them essentially skeleton manned for up to two years. 

Did Peel Ports as owners of the jetty consider these changed factors before bringing these drill ships to Hunterston?

Other jetty environment/location factors 

The location of the jetty less than 1.5km from the shore of the Great Cumbrae may well provide shelter from westerly winds, but in the event of un-berthing in strong easterly winds, as was the case in this incident, it poses a significant risk to serious grounding. The Cumbrae shore in that region is almost entirely red sandstone rock. Had either of the vessels been driven ashore there then it is likely that significant damage to the vessel hulls would have taken place. 

The jetty is also located relatively close to Hunterston Nuclear Station. Had the wind been from a more northerly direction there is a possibility that the ships could have been blown towards either the outlet or the inlet water offshore facilities of the Station. 

Were these environmental factors considered by Peel Ports and the other organisations involved in the berthing proposals?

Environmental Risks arising from the ships 

Had the incident resulted in grounding of these vessels, what were the possible environmental effects on the local area and the Clyde estuary in general?

We know from examination of the Valaris data sheets that vessels such as DS4 have the following approximate capacities for the main materials required: 

Diesel Fuel Oil 4,400 te 

Drill Water 2,600 te 

Liquid Mud 7,000 te 

Bulk Stored Solid Barytes ( Barium Sulphate) 2,000 te 

What are the current inventories of potentially environmentally damaging materials on the two ships?

What tonnage of fuel oil? 

What tonnage of drilling mud and what composition of drilling mud stored? What other potentially environmentally damaging materials?

What assessment has been done to determine the environmental risks posed and the measures to be taken in the event of environmental releases, particularly associated with the long term nature of the ship storage and the low manning?

In the aftermath of the incident it would appear that the ships are now holding station at the jetty in easterly wind conditions by running their main engines and thrusters. The implication of this is that fuel oil combustion products from the ships will be emitted in the local area for the foreseeable future. The actual effects of this are not acceptable, but the sheer irony of the situation will not be lost on elected officials once it is made clear. This is taking place at a site which Peel Ports has titled ‘Hunterston Green Energy Parc’. The Scottish Government is pouring millions of pounds into the

nationalised shipyard at Ferguson, Greenock in an attempt to deliver two Dual Fuel Ferries, one destined for the Ardrossan to Brodick route on the Clyde. Glasgow is spending millions on hydrogen powered bin lorries and Scotland is about to host the COP 26 world conference in Glasgow in November. 

Have Peel Ports considered the acceptability of this situation and what is their response?

How does this situation fit with the wording of the Valaris statement on its website in the section ‘Our Commitment’. ‘Through our values we strive to behave with integrity and do not cause harm to people, property, environment, and the communities around us’?

Are Valaris senior management aware of the issues we have identified?

Environmental risks associated with Non Native Invasive Species 

It is well known that there is an environmental risk associated with carpet sea squirt, Didemnum vexillum in the Largs Channel area. This species has been detected in Largs Marina and is believed to be present on the jetty structure at Hunterston. The species is particularly attracted to man-made structures and thrives in shaded underwater areas where lower tidal currents are present. There is a distinct possibility that this species could colonise the underwater hull area of the two ships, particularly due to the long term storage and non movement of the vessels. 

Peel Ports are well aware of the Didemnum vexillum problem in the Clyde and have issued their own guidance notice as part of their Port Authority responsibility. 

Did Peel Ports consider the risks from Non Native Invasive Species before arranging the long term berthing of these vessels in a known hot-spot for Didemnum vexillum?


Mooring warps 

There are a number of technical questions around the specification and condition of the mooring warps used prior to the incident, but this is difficult for us to comment on in detail from a remote perspective. 

We would expect any investigation to cover such aspects as: 

Material of construction, load characteristics, age, storage conditions, previous use, UV exposure, damage, chafe and chafe protection, point of failure under load, tensile tests on samples of recovered lines, number of lines employed etc.

At a more general level we would make the following observations. 

The angle at which some of the shore-lines passed from the jetty to the ship seemed to be very steep. This was particularly true near the bow section and was most pronounced where shore-lines were rigged from the separate mooring dolphin at the north end of the jetty. Here lines were very steeply angled upwards from a centre point of the dolphin and since the ship was essentially moored

alongside the dolphin, with its bow projecting further northward, resulted in short lines with little or no longitudinal angle to the ship. In fact no line at this mooring point was secured forward of the bow. In order to compensate for this lack of forward oriented bow line we believe a decision was made to deploy the ship’s anchor to achieve a measure of longitudinal stability. 

The centre fixing point on the dolphin was, we believe, originally designed to utilise hook style warp fixings and was intended to provide a suitable bow or stern fixing location for warps deployed by a single cape-sized vessel whose full hull lay along the jetty head proper. It appears to us that the dolphin was clearly designed as a ‘mooring dolphin’. In the case of the DS4 mooring arrangement the bow of the ship projected beyond the dolphin, which makes it appear more akin to a ‘berthing dolphin’. There must have been some question in the minds of those at Peel Ports regarding the suitability of the dolphin since just prior to the original berthing of DS4 a tug appeared to attach a tow line to the central mooring point of the dolphin and proceeded to pull on the fixing for some considerable time. 

If this was a test to determine the strength of the fixing how was it quantified, and approved?

Had the fixing failed during the ‘test’, what were the possible consequences and was this ‘test’ risk assessed?

Although failure of the mooring lines was the event immediately preceding the un-berthing of DS4 from the jetty it is only one small, but significant factor in the cause of the incident, and it would be useful to keep this in mind. It is important to identify the immediate cause failures of the lines, but 

all the factors outlined in this paper need to be considered to get to the real root causes of the incident. 

Deployment of the anchor on DS4 

As we have already indicated, the fact that DS4 had its anchor already deployed, which in our view, was part of the flawed mooring arrangement described above, saved the day and prevented both ships from being driven ashore. 

However we know from AIS data that the anchor dragged for nearly half a mile before eventually biting into the sea bed and halting the drift. It would appear then that the anchor was not bedded in at its original drop position to the north of Fairlie Patch buoy. This may have been due to the efforts to get the anchor as far forward of the bow of DS4 as possible to provide as much bow stabilising tension as could be delivered? It appeared that DS4 reversed to the berth while paying out chain at the appropriate rate. It is likely that the load applied to the anchor during this operation was not sufficient to bed the anchor in. When the high loading was suddenly applied by the ship leaving the berth it appeared that the anchor merely skipped along the seabed for some considerable distance. We do not know precisely how much chain was originally deployed and we do not know whether the crew let out more chain during the drifting period to arrest the ship. These questions require to be answered by those involved.

Wind Loading on the ship 

Clearly the wind loading on these types of ships is very large and in particular in a beam-on to wind situation as was the case on the night of the incident. We are aware of the complicated fluid

dynamic calculations required to determine the precise wind loading and the resulting force exerted on the ship and therefore on its mooring lines. 

Does this data exist for the vessels involved?

If the data exists was it provided to Intermoor for their calculations?

Can a calculation be done which inputs the weather information for the night of the incident in order to define categorically what loads were put on the lines and which then resulted in the line failures and the incident?

Did Peel Ports consider asking for this data in order to risk assess the suitability of the shore-side mooring hardware at the jetty?

In order to help us gain knowledge of the effects of wind loading on mooring practices we have studied the documentation available for Faslane in the Gareloch which is controlled by the Queens Harbour Master as Port Authority. Their documentation, Clyde Dockyard Ports, Entry and Departure Guidelines for Vessels, March 2011, sets wind speed limits for berthing at Jetty numbers 1 and 2, which are used for conventional ships. These limits are set for vessels having a large air cross section in order to protect both the ship and the berthing infrastructure. The limit is set at 3,500 m2. The relevant statement is as follows: 

‘Vessels with air cross section greater than 3,500 m2, berthed at 1 & 2 berth will be directed to proceed to sea at sustained winds of 35 kts.’ 

A very approximate calculation of the beam-on air cross section of a Samsung drillship of the DS4 type gave a value of 8,800m2. Even if the estimate is not precise we believe this shows the scale of the air cross section or windage issues present. This poses the question: 

Do Peel Ports as Hunterston jetty owners or as Port Authority have a similar set of controls for directing ships to sea where high air cross section and high wind speed conditions are present?

If they do not have such controls, why not?

In order to have appropriate wind speed data we believe a receiving jetty should be equipped with appropriate real-time wind speed and direction equipment. We can see no evidence of such equipment on the Hunterston jetty structure. There is a wind instrument at the control tower, but this is located inland over a kilometre from the jetty head. 

Does Peel Ports have adequate wind speed and direction equipment installed at the jetty head to allow safe berthing of incoming vessels and inform masters of the real-time conditions at the berth before arrival?

Equipment such as that described was formerly located on top of one of the un-loader cranes, but does not appear to have been replaced following demolition of the cranes.

Condition of the Hunterston Jetty and its suitability for current and proposed uses 

This incident involving large forces being exerted on the jetty has raised questions locally as to the general engineering status of the jetty. The jetty is over 50 years old. The questions arising are: 

What was the original design life of the jetty?

Are the original engineering drawings and specifications held by Peel Ports or others? Is the design suitable for the current and proposed uses being considered by Peel Ports? When was the last full civil engineering status survey completed and what was the outcome? How is corrosion protection provided for the jetty?

Did the jetty have an impressed current cathodic protection system as part of its original design? If so how does this function in the absence of shore power?

Fairlie Community Council have prepared this document because it wishes to see a properly conducted investigation into the incident of Tuesday 2nd February. 

If such an investigation is carried out properly then everyone will learn from it and improve standards. Our document may appear excessive, but one thing is sure, no serious incident occurs because of one or two isolated failures. All serious incidents have many failures of barriers which have been breached and finally lead to the event itself. This is an ideal example to do a proper investigation free from the burden on the conscience imposed by possible death, injury or environmental destruction. 

We repeat again. The only reason there was no major environmental damage, loss of life or serious reputational damage to the many organisations involved in this incident was LUCK. Ultimately luck was the factor determining the actual outcome. 

We have prepared this in good faith as a group of unpaid residents. We urge you to take it seriously.

Fairlie Community Council

A78 Pedestrian Crossing

“Following the work done in 2018 when we did a survey of village to see if there was a need for a second pedestrian crossing on the A78 and we have finally got the go ahead.

The proposal is detailed in the consultation letter documents , and we are asking for views and opinions in a final consultation period which closes on the 29th January 2021.

If you have anything you would like us to put forward, please use the ‘Contact Us’ section of this website.

Many thanks,
Karla Tully


A78 South of 101 Main Road, Fairlie – Proposed Pedestrian Crossing.

Following requests from the community, Amey, the operating company for the South West Trunk Road Network, are pleased to inform you that we are looking to install a new signal-controlled pedestrian crossing facility in Fairlie. The proposed location is slightly north the pedestrian guard rail where the existing footpath to and from Fairlie Primary School meets the eastern footway of the A78 (Main Street).

The new crossing facility will provide opportunities for all pedestrians to cross the A78 to access local amenities and transport links with a greater degree of safety.

Amey are contacting you at this time to gather any comments you may have on the proposed installation.

For your information we have carried out extensive surveys of both the traffic and pedestrian movements and considered the constraints of the current unique road layout that exists in Fairlie at this location. This relates particularly to the narrowness of the footways, the close proximity of residential properties and the substantial stone walls that border the A78 to the rear of eastern footway.

This information enabled us to locate the crossing at a position that best suits the needs of the community based upon the pedestrian movements identified. The proposed location also considers the buildability of the facility and to meet with current government guidance that requires inclusive design in the construction, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure.

Inclusive design is an approach which aims to create environments which can be used by everyone regardless of age or disability.

A location plan is attached for your reference.

A78 – Fairlie – Proposed Location of Pedestrian Crossing.

A78 location plan
location plan of the proposed A78 pedestrian crossing

A78 street view of pedestrian crossing

Police Report 08/12/20 – 11/01/21


  08/12/20 to 11/01/21




Ward Priorities
1. Drug Dealing and Drug Misuse

2. Road Safety/Road Crime

3. Violence and Antisocial Behaviour

4. Dishonesty


Your Community Policing Officers – Ward – North Coast and Cumbrae


Our team covers Skelmorlie, Largs, Fairlie and West Kilbride. Inspector Convery leads the community policing team for your area.
Sergeants Police Officers
Sgt Sharon Kerr U219 PC Thomas Arthur U306

PC Simon Winsor U17

PC Dominic Murphy U522


Sub-Divisional Update
Results taken for 8th December 2020 to 11th January 2021.

35 calls to police Scotland resulting in 1 crime reports being raised this year, compared to 23 calls to police Scotland and 2 crime reports raised for the same period last year.

No crimes of note for this period for the area.

Although there was an increase in incidents reported to the police compared to last year, this is mainly as a result of an increase in COVID related calls to police, though it should be noted that after police attendance/enquiry, no COVID breaches took place.



Contact us
In an emergency always dial 999

For non-urgent crime, you can contact your local police office by telephoning 101.

Our Twitter and Facebook sites are not for reporting crime and they are not monitored 24/7.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/ayrshirepolice Twitter – @AyrshireEPolice

E-mail – sharon.kerr@scotland.pnn.police.uk

The following is a summary of the crimes and offences since the last report:


Crime Statistics : Monthly Report


Crime Type Offences Detected Offences Committed compared with 2019
Road traffic 0 0 0
Vandalism 1 0 1
HB & HBWI 0 0 0
Thefts 0 0 0
Poss. Drugs 0 0 0
Common Assault 0 0 0
Breach of the Peace 0 0 0
Fraud 1 0 0
Other 0 0 0

*figures relate to relevant Multi-Member Ward Area.

Concerns Raised by Community Council












FCC Agenda – 11/01/21

Amended Fairlie Community Council Agenda 11.1.21

Welcome and Apologies

Approval of December 2020 Minute

1 Police report (If DM not there another PC will attend and update DM)

2 A78 (Update from KarlaT re proposed pedestrian crossing)

3 NA Councillors` updates

4 Synchronous Compensator (Update from Alan Holden)

5 Peel Ports (Clydeport Operational Ltd) Application re variation of Planning Condition 4 re N/17/01273/PP (“the Permission”)

6 Hunterston SSG update re HNA and HNB (RH)

7 Hunterston Parc/Jetty update/ noise

8 Dawn Homes

9 The Coastal Cyclepath

The next FCC meeting (zoom) is Monday 1st February 2021.

FCC Minutes – 02/11/2020

Fairlie Community Council – Monday 02/11/2020, h. 07:30pm, Zoom meeting

Attending: FCC: Rita Holmes (Chair); Marco Piva (minutes taker); Alan Holden; David Telford; David Nairn NAC: Cllr. Tom Marshall; Cllr. Alan Hill; Cllr. Ian Murdoch 4 MoP

Approval of October minutes: proposed by DT, seconded by DN NA

Councillors’ update: the Cllrs elected to comment on the individual points on the agenda

1: A78 road closure Pasting email communication from Amey: Essential maintenance on the A78 between Kelburn Country Park and Fairlie North will commence from 8pm on Thursday 5 thNovember until Monday 9 thNovember 2020. The scheme, with a value of £132,000, will benefit road users by improving the condition of the carriageway and reducing the need for more extensive maintenance in future. This work requires an initial daytime lane closure on the A78 from 9.30am to 4pm, using a temporary traffic light system. The rest of the work will be completed overnight between 8pm and 6am, each night from 6 th November until the morning of the 9 thNovember. A full weekend closure will be in place with a signed diversion will be in operation. Northbound traffic on the A78 will be directed to leave at the A78 Chapel Hill Roundabout to B780 Dalry Road to B784 Dalry Junction. From here vehicles will travel on the B784 to the A760 Largs Road and re-join the A78 at Haylie Brae. Southbound traffic will follow the same diversion in the opposite direction. IM was on a meeting re roads a few weeks ago and this closure was not mentioned in that occasion. IM protested the lack of notice concerning this closure, insisting for having longer and clearer notice re future works. Also went on record saying that he considers that there is no point in resurfacing the road without addressing the well-known drainage issues

2: Remembrance Sunday NAC sent a note on 31/10 detailing restrictions and guidelines; AHold confirms that the Kirk had already planned accordingly

3: Accumulation of fallen leaves TM confirms that NAC is in charge, the road cleaning vehicle will be sent again (it has already been in Fairlie) under a 4-week programme that has already been approved and is in place. John Lockhart used to be in charge of the Countess steps; TM to contact him to see if he still is in charge and, if not, who is IM the flooding situation at the petrol station and across the road is getting worse: the drains are so clogged that they overflow with every rain, even when the Keppen Burn does not overtop. IM personally took care of having the drains cleaned, but the silt deposit is excessive; likely to be caused by Dawn Homes construction. He will find out who at NAC is in charge of monitoring the situation and bring the issue to their attention DT noted that it was a planning condition of the Dawn housing that the surface water flooding on the A78 would be dealt with as a planning gain; this has clearly not happened IM NAC and Transport Scotland have funded their part of the work, waiting for ScotRail to contribute their third part; no timeframe specified. TM confirms, will contact the individual in charge for updates 4: PeelPorts community liaison group Pasting notes shared by RH, who was present at the meeting This took place by Microsoft Teams on 27/10/20 with Warren Marshall the Liaison Officer, James McSporran the new Ports Director for the Clyde area and Lewis McIntyre Projects Strategy manager. Also present were Rita Holmes and David Nairn for FCC, Graham Wallace for Cumbrae CC, John Lamb for West Kilbride CC and Ian Dippie for Largs CC. NA Councillors Barr and Murdoch were also in attendance. WM was appointed interim chair. The May 2020 minutes were approved . Items discussed were Peel Ports Management changes and there was an update on proposed clean up at the site, with no specific dates for removal of the conveyor over the A78, or the removal of the rubber, coal and ore. FCC submitted written questions which will be answered in writing within 3 weeks of the meeting. We requested in writing that the meetings be audio recorded for accuracy. One proposal of note, that we were told will go to planning is a “green project”… not wind, not solar, not biomass. We were taken aback that the “green project” was waste incineration for energy production… no flu or chimney… no gaseous emissions… we were told there are plants like this, one in Germany and one in South Africa. We asked about waste coming in but got no information on this. If built it is likely to be on the stockyard not the Marine yard. We were told that there is competition from other places to berth the cruise liners, so unlikely they will come to Hunterston. PP spoke about aquaculture project and DN reminded if it is to be dependent on fish farms then there is a problem as we have too many already damaging the environment. David N spoke about the SSSI and access to it… We reminded PP that we are on one of the most beautiful waterways in Northern Europe and want it protected from inappropriate developments. The next liaison meeting is in April 2021. We will put the PP answers to our questions on the FCC website. The meeting was not recorded, PP were adamant in refusing this; TM reminded that outside meeting with the presence of NAC Cllrs never are recorded for public diffusion NACllrs have no further info re “green project” besides what mentioned at meeting. A motion was raised (by Cllr Alex Gallagher) at the latest full NAC meeting, but no proposal was filed. The main concern behind the motion was the loss of jobs after Hunterston closure. TM is not aware of any waste burning projects being close to be filed with planning; IM stated that, at the meeting, it was mentioned as something they are “looking at”, so we may have news in some months DN: aquaculture was mentioned (using recycled water); Crown Estate released a tender re fish and shellfish farming in the area; DN will follow up on this DT: CessCon Decom received a £100k loan from Business Loans Scotland to facilitate their operations at Hunterston – really an unsecured loan from the taxpayer. It is unclear what the status of this loan is (including whether the money has been paid to CessCon or not), as CessCon Decom are no longer involved at Hunterston IM: CessCon Decom were awarded a substantial loan from Ayrshire Growth Fund; unknown if they have received the money IM reminds that all renewable/green energy proposals have been initially brought forward by the late Mr. Ron Gilchrist.

5: Rigghill wind turbines Pasting notes shared by RH Burcote hosted an exhibition event in light of their Supplementary Environmental Information requested by statutory consultees and necessary as the original submissions did not meet requirements from SEPA, Roads, SNH, HES or NAC Environmental Health Noise. The Skelmorlie site is particularly scenic and has Roman remains as well as wildlife that needs protection. The peat is also at risk and NAC noise officer has already said that noise will be a problem for some residents. FCC is very concerned that output of turbine proposed is unprecedented on land (149.9M to blade tip and 4.2MW). Burcote deny there is any problem with ILFN. Burcote have stated in their latest flyer that the application will be determined the last quarter of 2020… this date, according to NAC planning is unlikely. We will see if Burcote appeal this on grounds of non determination. If they do then it does them no favours as their poor application has delayed this. FCC objected to the original plan and will submit a further objection as the plan is now to use the A78 through Fairlie which is unsuitable for such large heavy loads. We also do not want to see the destruction of the Routenburn Road. Our main concern is on health grounds. The planning app is expected in the 4 th quarter of 2020. TM: it’s very unlikely, first quarter of 2021 more likely. Also unlikely an appeal to ScotGov for non-determination, as they risk a rejection IM is strongly opposed, has applied to speak at Planning Comm when app is filed; so has Skelmorlie CC. TM there have been over 200 objections, speakers will be organised after the app is filed and the meeting is scheduled WKCC has already opposed the transit of heavy loads (over 100 expected) through WK MoP: Burcote are heavily in debt (around £8.2mill, a 2-pers company)

6: Hunterston site stakeholders group Pasting notes shared by RH The next SSG is Thursday, 3rd December by Zoom. Anybody who wishes to attend as a member of the public can request this from the Magnox secretariat. Written questions should be submitted in advance of the meeting, as the meeting is likely to be kept to two hours maximum. Currently the NDA is consulting on its draft Strategy 4 and the SSG will be submitting views on it by 6th November deadline. Anybody can submit comments on it. There have been 4 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at HNA. The Magnox socio economic fund has had few applications, so do apply if your group needs financial help with a project. Hunterston B has both reactors operating. R3 is expected to come offline in January 2021 and part of the graphite core will be checked for further cracking. EDF NGL plans to ask for a further 6 months of operation and R3 will and R4 will cease energy generation by January 2022. Then defuelling will start and take about 3 years after which decommissioning will commence. This CC through the SSG will continue to seek the best environmental outcomes possible regarding the decommissioning of HNB. We will also insist that only Hunterston radioactive wastes are treated and stored on site. NDA would like Torness waste to come to the Hunterston store. FCC has made it clear to NDA, that we do not want waste from outwith the Hunterston site. There is also a wish to dispose of reactor graphite near site, near surface and we opposed this as an unproven effective and safe method due to the Carbon 14 content in the reactor graphite. The Scottish government has told NDA that SG will not be the first to implement on site disposal of reactor graphite. We will publish the SSG Response on the Fairlie CC website in due course. Using Hunterston for graphite storing and for waste from other stations had already been discussed, objections had been filed and it had been taken off the table; it is now being discussed again. Objections will be filed again. There have been mentions of the statement that an operational Hunterston would be necessary to restart the power grid in Scotland in case of a complete shutdown (“black start”). AHold quotes official reports that deny this (hydro power is more than sufficient) IM states he has been ridiculed at Council level and by Mr Drew Cochrane on his column on the Largs & Millport News for questions he asked at SSG, questions that he considered reasonable and to which he received reasonable and clear answers by Magnox; he plans to raise issue at the next SSG; he also made this point at Largs CC, of which Mr Cochrane is a member. RH has also been ridiculed by Mr Cochrane on his column; she asked for apologies, Mr Cochrane replied that she has misinterpreted his words, RH asked again for an apology, none was offered.

7: Dawn Homes MoPs have complained about cutting of the old yew tree to build the new flats (presently under construction) and for the fact that the cliffs will not be visible when entering Fairlie from the north. 18 flats will be built

8: Locality Partnership The next meeting is on Dec 1 st 2020 (Tuesday); FCC are looking for volunteers to participate

9: NA workshop on housing needs There are no data on Fairlie AHill there are no sites to build social housing in Fairlie IM there is a shortage of social housing, but no sites to build it, nor commercial sites

10: New seating on the Mound Probably initiated and paid for by Fairlie Community Trust, that has to be congratulated for the initiative AOB: a) a MoP (not present at meeting) suggested to use the upper tennis court, which is presently unkempt, as a “doggy park” AHill: Fairlie Community Sports Club are in charge of the tennis courts, owned by NAC but not managed by NAC. Small pines are spontaneously growing on upper court (lower court has been recently restored to its function), they will probably be sold as Christmas trees for charity b) MoP: it looks like people have been speeding and running the red light more than before in recent months; wasn’t there a proposal to install a digital speed measurement signal? IM: it has been pointed out that youths often use digital speed measurement signals as “challenges” to speed as much as they can. Police vans are often present at either end of the village or in layby in village centre c) PeelPort have been asked to repaint bridge at the south end of village when they will have road closed to remove the overpass d) Police will be asked to be present or to send a written monthly report from next FCC meeting e) DN re SSSI signage: meeting with SMH was held, discussing what to be written on it (several parties involved). Process is slow but it has been initiated The next FCC meeting is on Monday 7 th of December at 07:30 pm by Zoom (link for MoPs will be provided on request; MoPs present at this meeting and who have already expressed their interest will receive it)

FCC Minutes – 07/12/2020

Fairlie Community Council – Monday 07/12/2020, h. 07:30pm, Zoom meeting

FCC: Rita Holmes (Chair); Marco Piva (minutes taker); Alan Holden; David Telford; Ian Hunter
NAC: Cllr. Ian Murdoch
4 MoP
Apologies: NA Cllr Alan Hill; NA Cllr Tom Marshall

Approval of November minutes: proposed by DT, seconded by AH

NA Councillor’s update: the works on the main road North of Fairlie have been completed by AMEY. Took longer than announced because issues have been found more than once during works, mostly drainage issues (which had however already been mentioned by IM in person, in the past). Next phase in Feb, Haylie Brae to the Marina approx). Issues re the drainage on that stretch have been mentioned
AH reminds that still is a hole at the side of the road where the works have just been completed
IM confirms that it has been noted and that it should be looked into when the lines will be painted

1 Coastal Path
Works have started between Bay Str and the North end of Ferry Row. Ms Claire Fitzsimmons is likely the person in charge
MoP asks why are they starting now, when the tides are at their highest
Likely answer is a wish to start before the new financial year

2 Rigghill Wind Turbines
There is nothing new to say on this, we are waiting for NAC Planning Committee to discuss the issue. The Roads Committee have stated that there should be no issues for the transportation via road of the components of the turbines through West Kilbride and Fairlie; there may be some issues in Largs once the convoy will leave the main road.
IM asked Chair of Planning for permission to address the Committee on behalf of the constituents as an elected NAC Cllr; he was suggested to ask Fairlie or Skelmorlie CCs to share with him part of the 10 min allotted to each. IM points out that this seems to him unfair, and will make a case about it at the next full NAC meeting.
DT the Planning Committee sure won’t meet before next year; have the recommendations already been made public?
IM they have not.

3 Hunterston SSG

The meeting took place last week; nothing new, various strategies are being discussed.
DT We are safe from receiving waste from other sites as long as Hunt. B is working, but we can’t be sure on this after it stops operating
The Hunt. site mgr mentioned being open to discussion on this regard with PeelPorts, but registered a strong opposition from the local communities
IM asked the SSG if videos of the meetings can be made public; he was answered they can’t due to Data Protection rules
RH the minutes are however very detailed, so people can know exactly what was discussed. People can ask to join the meeting if they like
EDF have been clearing some land; they will make the public know what will be put there.
Defueling starts in early 2022; after 2/3 years, decommissioning will commence.
EDF will be consulting on future Planning Apps for treatment, packaging and storing of radioactive waste

4 Peel Ports

Shrubbery and sea buckthorn have been removed, from nearly 5 hectares of land adjacent to (but not part of) SSSI, it being reclaimed land. An explanation for this has been asked for, it hasn’t been received yet. Part of this land is where the positioning of a solar farm had been proposed by the late Mr. Ronald Gilchrist.
Mr. Hugh MacLean has sent a query re the proposed Synchronous Compensator unit (mentioned in planning docs) to TNEI, asking for further info. Also, the site proposed for it is at the South end of the coal stockyard, so if any seawater cooling is required pipes will have to cross the SSSI. No answer yet, Hugh will keep FCC posted.
DT will ask NA Cllr Tom Marshall, Chair of the NA Planning Committee, what he can say on this topic
Peel mentioned a “green project” and said it is a plant to burn waste for energy (“gasification plant”); it would have no chimneys. They stated that they are aware of two such plants, one in South Africa and one in Hamburg (Germany); RH: the latter is extremely big in size. It is likely to be built at the South end of the stock yard. A Planning App may be coming, and then we’ll be able to better understand what it would entail

5 Dawn Homes
No news
IM the gullies have been cleaned where the flooding has been an issue for years, the issue was not solved. It has been reported more than once. The drains are so deeply choked by the silt from the hill that the area keeps flooding. It must be repaired permanently.

6 SEPA survey of habits during COVID

The consultation is nearly finished (via letters). The report will say what habits have changed.

7 Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park Authority

It is being disbanded; NA, Inverclyde and W Renfrewshire will take care of the infrastructure on their territory but there will be no overseeing. A meeting will be held on Fri 11th Dec
MoP asks to check if privates will be able to apply (through Planning) to build on former park areas
DT it should be retaining Reg. Park status, only w/o any central management
The responsibility will lay with the local authorities

8 Wild Oysters Project Update
David Nairn, who was to give an update on this, is not present; he will be asked to circulate a note#


  1. When will the next CC elections take place?
    IM suspended until further notice
  2. Semple Ctr
    IH when FCC were using it regularly, FCC were giving a donation; when FCC restart using it, maybe consider the possibility of a fixed payment
  3. Police will be asked to send a report before the next FCC meeting
  4. IM there have been noise complaints because of the ships docked at Peel
    AH new power cabinets seem to have been set up along the jetty
    FCC to get clarifications re frequency of ships and to try to prevent/reduce at a minimum noise pollution

+ motion to move the next FCC meeting from 04/01/2021 to 11/01/2021, carried.

The next FCC meeting is on Monday 11th of January 2021  at 07:30 pm by Zoom (link for MoPs will be provided on request; MoPs present at this meeting and those who have already expressed their interest will receive it)

Letter sent to the Scottish Government Energy Minister 13/12/19.

Fairlie Community Council

Letter sent to the Scottish Government Energy Minister 13/12/19.

Re. Concerns about proposals for larger wind turbines to be located within less than 10km distance from people.

Dear Paul Wheelhouse,  please find below information which is relevant and extremely important to any proposed plans for new industrial wind turbine installations and replacement of currently operating smaller-sized wind turbines with larger and more powerful ones.


Industrial wind turbines produce an intermittent flow of electricity, but in the process, also produce noise emissions, which when installed too close to people`s homes, cause `environmental noise pollution` and  ` harm to health`, which is a `violation of ARTICLE 8 of the Human Rights Act`. 

For the `more acutely affected suffers`, it is a `violation of our Right to Life`.

Although acousticians and engineers working for the wind industry, assert that audible noise and low frequency noise from wind turbines, are unlikely to cause health effects, physicians and experts in Biomedical Research, in particular in the UK, Germany, France, Finland, Canada, Denmark, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Portugal, among others, have drawn different conclusions.                                                                                   

Indeed, in 2006, the French Academy of Medicine issued a report which concludes:                                

“ The harmful effects of sound-related wind turbines are insufficiently assessed. People living near towers, the height of which vary, complain of functional disturbances, similar to those in syndromes of sonic sound trauma. The sounds emitted by the blades, being low frequency which, therefore, travel easily and according to the wind, constitute a permanent risk for the people exposed to them.”

In 1999, companies were installing 0.6 megawatt wind turbines and wind farms were comprising only 2 or 3 wind turbines.

In 2002, they were installing 1.3 megawatt wind turbines and similarly, wind farms only comprised 2 or 3 wind turbines. 

The proposed Rigghill wind turbines were originally to have been 2.3 megawatt. 

We have recently been told that, at Rigghill,  they will be 4.2 megawatt and that there will be 10 of them.

We ask that both the Scottish Government and North Ayrshire Council give urgent consideration to the information below and take immediate action to ` increase setback distances` in consideration of larger wind turbines and  indeed, whether we should have them at all, other than in very remote areas or many miles out at sea. 


UK and international health Professionals, Scientists and Engineers all agree that complaints of adverse health impacts from those living close to wind turbines, (usually installed by developers and companies who have said, “will be no noise and no adverse health impacts”) continue to grow.

These involve both audible and inaudible noise, including low 

frequency noise and inaudible noise below 20 hertz, known as

infrasound. Both audible and inaudible low frequency noise can cause immediate  adverse health effects at sound levels which may not be audible. These effects can be very serious and 

irreversible if the noise continues and is prolonged over months and years.

Complaints of severe sleep deprivation, severe chronic stress, and disabling vestibular dysfunction symptoms (dizziness , vertigo etc.) abound with problems varying from site to site depending upon local topography, height and number of 

turbines, inter turbine distances and the distance between turbines and homes. The common thread to the reported symptoms (known as “noise annoyance”), is the activation of the startle reflex, which can be triggered by acoustic, vestibular and tactile stimuli – which if activated together can have a synergistic effect.

It needs to be stated that the World Health Organisation definition of “annoyance”  is stated as, “annoyance in this context is used in the sense of causing stress sufficient to cause concern for health, not simply irritation.”

See WHO Guidelines 2009 Appendix A

To argue that the sleep disturbance, physiological stress and vestibular dysfunction symptoms and their long term adverse health consequences do not exist, or are caused by

scaremongering, is misleading. It is neither scientifically correct nor ethical. This is particularly the  case with regard to the statutory responsibilities of Local Authorities and both Holyrood and Westminster Governments and also the responsibilities of medical and acoustic professionals, in view of both their training and their respective professional obligations, to protect the health and safety of the public.                                                                

Indeed, Dr Colin Ramsay of Health Protection Scotland has, himself, raised concerns about the power-rating of larger wind turbines. He cites the research of Moller H and Pederson CS 2011. “Low Frequency Noise from Large Wind turbines”, in the Journal of the Acoustic Society 129.

This study investigated the relationship between the size and power of the wind turbines and their emitted sound power. Based upon data for turbines rated 2.3 to 3.6 megawatt.

“The spectrum of wind turbine noise moves down in frequency with increasing turbine size and that problems with low frequency noise will increase with larger wind turbines.”

The essential point being is just how much power, rather than perceived loudness, is in the 1-20 hertz frequency wave band.

The `harm to health` is in the radiated acoustic field of these very low frequencies often below the `Threshold of Hearing `.

There is now overwhelming evidence that negative health effects of industrial wind turbines: sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment, mental health and well-being, as well as cardiovascular disease, hearing impairment, tinnitus, and adverse birth outcomes are continuing to present and indeed and increasing.

UK medic, Dr. Christopher D. Hanning Bsc MCRS MRCP MB FRCA MD,  Honorary Consultant in Sleep Medicine at the University of Leicester Hospitals, highlighted in his article in the 2014 issue of  the British Medical Journal, amongst other warnings, the particular sleep deprivation dangers to children..

 “Sleep disturbance may be a particular problem in children, and it may have important implications for public health .

When seeking to generate renewable energy through wind, governments must ensure that the public will not suffer harm from additional ambient noise.”                                                              


The current guideline on separation distance is based on ETSU-R-97 and is manifestly out of date.  It is only relevant to the small wind turbines of that era. 

The vastly increased scale of today`s wind turbines, means that the current recommendation on turbine separation is grossly inadequate.

The German Medical Assembly, meeting in Frankfurt, in 2016, called on the German Government to conduct urgent scientific 

research into reported noise issues. Since then Germany`s medics have called for a “moratorium on wind farms”. Denmark has “called a halt on further Planning permissions” and Australia has ruled that “Low frequency noise and Infrasound from wind turbines, is a plausible pathway to disease, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease.”

It is crucial to stress  the wind turbine`s specific noise character.

It is already known that the so called `annoyance` level at 40dBA from wind farms is comparable to 55dBA from traffic noise and this has recently been attributed in part to amplitude modulation by experienced acousticians such as Professor Geoff Leventhal (UK), Dr Paul Schomer (USA, former Director of Acoustic Standards) and Steven Cooper (Australia). 

Indeed, Dr Schomer also states, “…literature and case studies all over the world, evidence that people are leaving their homes because they are being exposed to significant levels of pulsating, ultra-low frequency sound produced by wind turbines. In addition, there is no question that large turbines produce more infrasound below 1 Hertz, which increases the likelihood that health problems will occur unless noise limits are dramatically reduced through use of smaller turbines.”                                                        

Wind turbine noise emissions comprise a number of features including a complex and vibrant sound mix, cylindrical sound propagation and refraction from the high levels, distinct peaks at the blade pass frequency, high proportion of infrasound and low frequency noise, and the sharp noise level in quiet areas especially during nights and cold seasons. It highlights strongly that wind power sound has a very characteristic sound profile, and that this must be, specifically, considered.

Dr Mariana Alves Pereira of the Lusofona University in  Portugal has been researching vibroacoustic disease since 1980 initially focussed on the low frequency noise (LFN), that impacted aeronautical technicians in the Portugese Air Force. Late in 2013, she presented a case study from Portugal where a family had been exposed for seven years to LFN caused by the operation of nearby wind turbines. Testing showed the increase in LFN inside the home was associated with turbine operation. Medical tests showed the people who were living inside the home had impaired brain function in relation to stimuli as well as their control of breathing. The syndrome is known as Vibro-Acoustic Disorder.

The 1999 World Health Organisation  `Community Noise` Guidelines state “It should be noted that a large proportion of low frequency component in a noise, may increase considerably, the adverse effects on health.”

See also in the same 1999 WHO document

“The World Health Organisation advise that, effects due to low frequency components in noise are estimated to be more severe than for community noises in general. The evidence on low frequency noise is sufficiently strong to warrant immediate concern.”


(i) That the Energy Minister and North Ayrshire Council note that the proposals for the installation of wind turbines at the Rigghill site in Skelmorlie are (a) 10 x 4.2 megawatt turbines, (were originally going to be 2.3megawatt) and (b) the proposed `set back` distance is only 1.5km from people.

In 2017- 2018 folk were very badly impacted by wind turbines operating at 3.5megawatt at a distance of 2.5km.

Internationally acclaimed, `top of the tree` UK Scientists and Medics including UK icon Dr Christopher D Hanning BSc MRCS MRCP MB BS FRCA MD Honorary consultant in Sleep Medicine, University Hospitals Leicester state that, “The weight of epidemiological evidence is conclusive, in that wind turbine noise adversely effects health at distances of at least 1.5kilometres” and this for smaller, much less powerful wind turbines. In 2017, people were negatively impacted at 8 kilometres distant (at north end of Largs) by wind turbines operating at 3.5megawatt  at Hunterston. When in `full knowledge`, (they were told at the time of the application that there would be “no problem”), of the devastating impact upon residents across Fairlie, Cumbrae and Largs our wonderful councillors voted, that the wind turbines should be dismantled and removed.

Dr Christopher Hanning`s expertise, with regard to adverse health effects from wind turbines, has been accepted by civil

Criminal and family courts. He has been accepted as an expert regarding adverse health effects from wind turbine noise by the Ontario High Court and Environmental Review Tribunal and at Planning inquiries in the UK, Canada and Ireland. He has given evidence on the harmful effects from wind turbine noise to the Irish Parliament and the Australian Senate.                                                             

(ii) The Scottish Government and the Local Authority as Statutory Planning Authority must, immediately, require much greater `set back distances` for larger wind turbines, to ensure there is no negative impact upon health.

We simply cannot allow larger and more powerful wind turbines, unless the set back distance is, considerably, increased.

The CEO of VESTAS the company who produce these wind turbines states, “Turbines send out ILFN, (infrasound low frequency noise), the bigger they are the more intensely they do so. It isn`t technically possible to curtail the ILFN output.”


In conclusion, we stand in solidarity with those suffering severe, long-term adverse health effects and increasingly irreversible damage to organs and tissue, across our planet , from wind turbines, as stated in the now very substantial, if not overwhelming peer reviewed research of the highest quality and integrity. The World Health Organisation is, itself, now saying that the cumulative adverse health effects from noise and vibration, are as much a `hazard to health` as air pollution.

The Scottish Government are, themselves, acknowledging this in communications. Indeed, at the frequencies, (both audible and inaudible), which larger turbines emit, they can cause death more quickly.

We seek to represent our Communities, ourselves , our families, friends and neighbours across Fairlie , Cumbrae, Largs , West Kilbride and Skelmorlie. The absolutely devastating impact upon increasing numbers of residents, in 2016 – 2018 will never be forgotten. Months and months of sleep deprivation, immediate impact of severe headache, acute pain in ears, chest pain and heart palpitations, dizziness, vertigo and nausea. As time went 

on peoples symptoms worsened and many people were `near collapse` when these machines were turning. Some, actually, did collapse and paramedics were called, who assessed as requiring hospitalisation. Others experienced equally frightening hearing loss and some found that they could not even speak or breathe properly.

There are increasing numbers of people, including UK and international legislators, arguing that, until we have effective regulation of these very dangerous low frequencies and infrasound, that further installation of larger wind turbines should be halted.

With regard to Burcote`s current `Pre Application Notification¬ to North Ayrshire Council, we consider it morally indefensible that, “Community Benefit” was dangled  `like a carrot` at the outset, before even details about number, size or power of the turbines were given to the communities. It is at best `misleading` for Burcote representatives to say that, “There is no harm to health from infrasound from wind turbines.” This has been stated vehemently by them at public meetings. We are investigating the `Criminal Code` which exists in other countries, whereby, it is a `criminal offence` for Governments, other Public Bodies and Companies, to state this, in context of `harm to health`, when is incorrect.

Finally, we draw your attention, once again, to the fact that the 6 and 7.2 megawatt wind turbines, which after delays in construction were, temporarily, installed at Hunterston , never, “Thank God”, operated at `full power`. The residents who were so very badly impacted, truly believe this would have killed them. These very severe, and acute for some, adverse health effects , already listed here, which folk were experiencing with no `let up`, were when these machines were operating at 3.5 megawatt. When, briefly, increased to 4 megawatt people were collapsing….! There were only two of these turbines.                                                                

We hope that you will carefully consider the points made in this letter and that the Scottish Government will give these issues the urgent attention needed and put in place effective measures that will safeguard against any further harm.












FCC Minutes 04/11/19

Fairlie Community Council (FCC) Minutes 04/11/2019

Present: Rita Holmes (chair), David Nairn, Karla Tully, Alan Holden, Ian Hunter, David Telford, Marco Piva; Cllr. Ian Murdoch, Cllr Tom Marshall; PC Dominic Murphy (Police); 7  members of the public. Apologies: Andy Temple,(FCC)  

October minutes proposed by AH, seconded by DN.

Police report     24 calls & 4 crimes in the month of Oct  (2 crimes in 2018). Two road traffic offences; one breach of the peace; one breach of bail.

DM followed up requests from last FCC for the safety camera partnership to re-assess whether the layby at  Southannan on the A78 could be used for a Speed Camera van. This has been approved due to 30 mph extension.

DT re-raised the regularity that cars are jumping the traffic lights at the top of The Causeway.  DM reminded everyone that the time, registration and incident details should be reported to the police by calling 111.

Councillors’ update  IM: Updates made  in agenda points.  Next full NAC Council meeting 13th November.  Any questions must be submitted 7 calendar days before. 

TM: Sunday Times article 02/11/2019 cited NAC as good example of planning permission granted for small developments through officer decisions. 

  1. Peel Ports Update (PP)       RH updated the FCC as follows:

“Peel Ports Community Liaison Group. The September minutes have been agreed as correct by FCC and PP and circulated to the CC members. There is a spare copy if anyone wants it. The next meeting is in April 2020. The Port Director answered some recent FCC questions : “Rig discussions are ongoing for repair or layup, (at Main Jetty). Nothing confirmed at this stage. PP requested that when  this message is being communicated, please ensure that everyone is informed that if it does happen, NO decommissioning will take place, that is not the purpose of these rigs possibly visiting Hunterston. I will keep you informed if and when anything is confirmed. The crane works are ongoing, due to bad weather delays. They are now struggling to complete by year end, however they are planning to keep working to complete ASAP. The conveyor across the road is proving challenging, trying to get track and road possession together for the time that`is required to set up and safely remove the structures. They are now looking at March as a possible date for the removal but again I will keep you advised.”RH also stated that as ‘Port Authority’ PP have stated that it can decide on any  use of the jetty and are considering mooring rigs for ‘layup or refurb’ on the east side (Fairlie side), of the jetty. RH has made it clear that Fairle Community Council will request this work be moved to the west side. Although these uses may be ‘temporary’ no time scales or definition of temporary has been given by PP.

DN raised that the Marine Scotland licence decision has still not been made and that waste licences will also be necessary.

TM agreed to ask  NAC Planning Department for ongoing updates on the PP plans for the jetty. 

IM has written to NAC asking for details of the £100k loan given to CessCon.  This loan was not given by PP or NAC. CessCon have just published annual results with a loss of £150k and no employees.  Concerns that public money has been wasted. 

  1. SSG Update  RH’s update as follows:

“The December SSG is cancelled due to Nuclear Decommissioning Authority decision. This is unfortunate given the current issue of Keyway root cracking in both reactors. R3 is still offline and R4 will be nearing its 4 month allowed generating period in December. The Office of Nuclear Regulation expects R4 to come offline in December, for further Graphite checks before its Safety Case and that of R3 which has more advanced cracking, are assessed and a decision made by ONR on whether to allow further generation of either. The new Safety Case 7785 has an Operational Allowance for 700 cracks and a CDTolerance Limit of 1331 cracks. Unusually for ONR and due to heightened public interest in the Graphite Issue, ONR, as well as the Project Assessment Report, has on its website, the 4 accompanying technical reports that support the PAR. The five reports are reasonably easy to understand and helpful. Hunterston B, ONR and SEPA are ready to answer any questions posed and HNB has offered a meeting anytime to members of the SSG. I will have more information after I meet with ONR on the 7th November in London at the ONR/NGO Forum and will keep the CC up to date. Last Thursday was the first Scottish Sites meeting in a year. The Scottish Civil nuclear sites and the MOD sites gave reports and discussed various issues.”SSG are still awaiting details of the ‘Emergency Planning zone’.  NAC will see details January 2020.

At Scottish Sites, RH questioned NAC’s technical knowledge and capability to review and contribute to the plans. Dounreay Site representatives also voiced concern that Highland Council were in the same category. 

The Civil Contingency team (Scottish Government) have not included Portencross residents in the current DEPZ. Hopefully the DEPZ will be extended.

TM stated that budget cuts mean no council has such expertise, but asked ‘who else’ would be qualified. 

Both DN and RH questioned why the local population are not involved, especially on the issue of Potassium iodate  tablets. 

  1. Fairlie Castle      David McNeur has  sent a letter to Historic Environment Scotland as he is concerned that HES is not aware that the NAC planning permission for the castle ‘extension’ has been changed, discharged and ultimately removed the necessity to restore the castle, in order for a dwelling to be on the site.  DMcN believes NAC’s handling of the planning applications have enabled the owner to ultimately avoid protecting the castle and have the protected designation of the ancient monument changed. Scottish Power had to gain permission to fell trees in proximity of the castle yet the owner has done so without gaining specific permission. DMcN will circulate a draft letter for FCC members to consider sending to HES , as the castle is of ‘ cultural importance’ to the  community and there are clear risks to local archeological and natural areas too. 

FCC agreed to consider the draft when sent by DMcN. 

  1. Rigghill Industrial Wind Turbines   RH made a point of emphasising that the size of the turbines  planned are the tallest on land in the UK so far. RH updated as follows:

“Invicta is the Public Affairs firm dealing with this and Burcote is involved at this stage. The developer if this went ahead would likely be ERG an Italian firm. The land in question is behind Meigle, Skelmorlie and towards Largs. There is an important Roman Site there as well as badger setts and other protected species. It is also part of the Regional Park and borders a SSSI. FCC and West Kilbride CC have made the decision not to engage in discussion on Community Benefit with Burcote and Invicta. Public presentations on 26th 27th and 28th Nov are planned, where we will be told about the design etc. After our experience with the Offshore wind turbines at Hunterston we are keen to see the developer’s proposals and hear how they are taking infrasound and amplitude modulation into account. These are likely to be larger and more powerful than anything currently on land in the UK. I have written on behalf of FCC outlining our concerns and requesting that at their Public Presentations they address potential health problems associated with these larger turbines.”

TM stated that “unfortunately NAC agreed to wind turbines in the ‘wild lands’ near the new crematorium and at Rigghill.  Only wild land in North Ayrshire and Arran. FCC believe any community benefit could not outweigh the cost to the environment and health impact. Scottish Government have on occasion overridden LAs  who have denied permission in regional parks. NAC could consider application through delegated powers but choosing to go to full committee. RH reminded FCC that any proposal for generating 50 mw or more is reviewed by the Scottish Government. IM reminded everyone that no applications have yet been put in.  RH and FCC representatives have met with developers alongside Skelmorlie, and Largs CCs. Burcote and Invicta have asked FCC representatives to meet with them, but RH is reluctant. 

  1. Library/Village Hall/ NA Budget Consultative meeting   RH stated that FCC will support Fairlie Community Association`s campaign to retain the Village Hall and library, by writing to NAC.  DT to draft letter and send to KST for editing. All parties are still questioning whether the savings are proportional to the revenue received from Fairlie council tax payments.  TM stated that NAC need to save £35 million and the budget consultative meeting will be held in December 2019. Saved £9 million on capital repayments on previous budgets so options are restricted. 
  2. Remembrance Sunday   Ian HUnter to lay the FCC wreath on behalf of the FCC. Centenary of the first Remembrance Sunday. 
  3. AOB  l. Recent A78 Closure  Issue raised by Brian, Village Inn LandLord.  Concerned that the door to door leaflets were only a few days before the closure and were inaccurate.  The pub, car wash, Michelle’s take away, garage and hairdressers suffered losses as customers were turned away being told that the businesses were closed.  Some residents were able to access their homes as promised, but others including carers were denied access. Brian had to cancel a pre-booked party also causing lost revenue.  IM had previously met with Transerv to ensure the necessary local access and was disappointed that this was not given. Convoys were agreed to give access for residents, but these were not consistently run across the closure period. Briann called Transerv who stated that FCC had selected the dates and agreed the arrangements.  RH responded that the consultation was poor and the dates were to ensure residents were able to get to their employment Monday to Friday. Transerv changed the works planned, did not inform RH. Not all households were informed by leaflet. Actions were taken at the last minute.NAC Councilors and FCC committed to raise these issues with Transerv prior to the next closure likely to be March/April 2020. 
  4. Village Inn future

Brian raised that fewer Fairlie residents supported the pub over the closure weekend than he hoped despite communications on Facebook.  The Largs and Millport paper also published an old article stating that the Village Inn was closed due to a legal dispute with the owner.  This was an old re-published article but affected revenue further. 

In order to keep the pub alive Brian has calculated that if 400 people visited the pub every 6 weeks and spent £20 in that period the pub would be successful.  He has recently refurbished the dining room to ensure it is warmer in winter. 

Brian asked why NAC Councillors would not support the pub with a brown sign despite offering ro provide access to toilets after the public toilet closure.  

 Councillor Hill was looking into a tourist sign.  TM committed to action. 

lll.  Fairlie village pontoon

DN suggested raising funds for a village pontoon that could attract pub customers too.  DN to re-energise Fairlie Coastal Trust group for this purpose. 

Next meeting : Monday 2nd December 2019, Semple Centre, 7.30 pm. DT and KST apologies already received.