Minute of the special meeting of the Ross, Skye and Lochaber Planning Applications Committee held on site at Alcan Aluminium, Kinlochleven and thereafter at the Leven Centre, Riverside Road, Kinlochleven, PH50 4QH on Tuesday, 18th January 2011 at 11.00 am.
Committee Members Present:
Mr Billy Barclay
Mr Donald Cameron
Mrs Isabelle Campbell
Mr David Chisholm
Mr Michael Foxley
Mr Eddie Hunter
Mrs Isobel McCallum
Mr Ian Renwick
Mrs Audrey Sinclair
Non-Committee Members Present:
Mr Bren Gormley (local member vote)
Officials in attendance:
Mr Alaisdair Mackenzie, Area Solicitor
Ms Susan Poole, Team Leader, Planning and Development
Ms Lucy Prins, Principal Planner
Richard Wallace, Rio Tinto on behalf of the Applicant
Kieron Hanson, Hydro Plan, Agents for the Applicant
Jonathan Crabtree, Hydro Plan, Agents for the Applicant
Dr M C MacLeod, Objector
Mr David Chisholm in the Chair
1. Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Mr Peter Cairns, Mr Bill Clark, and Mr Hamish Fraser
2. Planning Application
2.1 Applicant: Alcan Aluminium Ltd (08/00043/S36LO) (PLR-104-10 (946kb pdf))
Location: Loch Eilidhe Mhor, Kinlochleven
Nature of Development: Hydro Electric Scheme
There had been re-circulated Report No PLR/104/10 by the Area Planning and Building Standards Manager recommending that the Scottish Ministers be advised that the Council had no objection to the proposal subject to the conditions detailed therein.
The Committee met at the Alcan Car Park and viewed the proposal from the following locations: the proposed new bridge, the proposed new Power House, the West Highland Way between the new bridge and the top of the existing pipe line; the end of Wades Road and the access to Mamore Lodge.
The Team Leader, the Applicant’s representatives and Dr MacLeod were allowed the opportunity of pointing out physical features at these locations relating to the development.
The meeting reconvened at 1400 in the Leven Centre when the Team Leader circulated the Applicant’s answers to a number of questions asked by Committee at their last meeting.
The Committee agreed the recommendation subject to:
1. The insertion in condition 14 of the words “to be chaired by Highland Council” after the word “Group” where it first occurs and the insertion of the following sentence after the first sentence: “Thereafter the Local Liaison Group shall meet at regular intervals”;
2. An additional condition 15 as follows:
No development shall commence on site until a traffic management plan for the management of construction traffic and its interface with the public, both pedestrian and vehicular, on the Mamore Lodge Road, the existing West Highland Way and the proposed temporary re-routed West Highland Way and existing footpaths. Thereafter the construction traffic associated with this development shall be managed in accordance with the approved traffic management plan, unless otherwise first agreed in writing by the Planning Authority.
Reason : In the interests of public safety.
3. An additional condition 16 as follows:
No development shall commence on site until full details of the specific reinstatement programme for the pipeline route and construction access tracks has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Planning Authority. Such details shall show a method of site restoration that restores the disturbed land on a rolling programme, rather than an end of project basis, with land restoration carried out as soon as practical after disturbance. Thereafter the land shall be reinstated in accordance with the approved details.
Reason : In the interests of visual amenity in order to ensure the land is restored as soon as practical in order to minimise visual impacts.
4. Inviting the Scottish Ministers to consider asking for the provision of a Bond to cover decommissioning of any future redundant equipment and reinstatement of the site;
5. Advising the Scottish Ministers of the Committee’s concerns about the ROC scheme in terms of its capacity thresholds to prevent the current perceived situation whereby potential capacity at an existing power station is being reduced and underused (by an estimated 4MW) to qualify for financial benefits, and a new scheme, with increased impacts, is being proposed to generate a similar level of power (5MW). This does not represent an efficient use of resources.
6. Asking the Scottish Ministers whether there is a mechanism within the Electricity Act to secure the removal of the redundant pipeline.
7. Advising the Scottish Ministers of the Committee’s concerns that while the Applicant might have no legal obligation to remove the existing unused pipeline they did have a moral obligation to do so and failing this should undertake regular inspections and take appropriate remedial action as and when required.
8. Although recognising that this was beyond the remit of the Planning System, asking the Scottish Ministers to encourage the applicant to fully participate in a community benefit scheme with the local community, in accordance with National and local policy.
9. Advising SEPA to consider using the rock which would be available following excavation of the new Power House to armour the existing river bank where there were signs of erosion.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 1520.