Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Save Otago Lane

Save Otago Lane logoOn the basis that ‘Better Late Than Never’ applies, I’ve just come across the Save Otago Lane! campaign and story.

Sadly, like the examples of the Pollok Park fiasco and the closure of Paddy’s Market, to name but two, the Otago Lane story looks set to unfold as yet another case of Glasgow City Council riding roughshod over the wishes of the people affected, ignoring representations, and parachuting something ‘nice, shiny, and clean’ in order to wipe out the untidy and undesirable locals.

It’s a reputation I try to avoid associating with Glasgow City Council, as it is usually expressed to me by people with an axe to grind, or who have some sort of long history of problems with the council, and griping about it, and its members (and there we could start on the recent media coverage of certain former senior council members who, it seems, were not strangers to drink and drugs – it seems you don’t have to kick Glasgow Council, you have to force yourself not to) . But, as time goes on and the apparent zeal with which the council seems to ignore locals and try to force through these projects make it hard not to form a negative opinion, even if trying not to.

Otago Lane lies next to the River Kelvin, and is described as being unique in historical, economic and artistic terms, and developers are seeking to build more than 140 flats plus several commercial units there, but some 2,000 written objections have been sent to planning officials, according to the Save Otago Lane Campaign.

The proposed development is set in one of Glasgow’s only Bohemian quarters, and it is said, would have repercussions not only for the area, but for Glasgow and Scotland at large.

Campaigners have received support from a number of MSPs from different political parties, and thousands of people have signed an online petition against the plans, and further details can be found on their web site, where a number of MSPs’ statements have been presented.

Not surprisingly, the developers, Otago Street Developments Ltd, claim that their plans are in keeping with both the principles and the spirit of the local conservation area and local plan.

Glasgow City Council said the proposed development would be considered by its planning applications committee “in due course”.

Otago Lane

Otago Lane - Courtesy of the Save Otago Lane campaign

More images can be found at: Save Otago Lane! – Images

The group can also be found on Facebook Save our Lane

And created an online petition Help save Otago Lane, Glasgow Petition

A large collection of related external links can also be found here Save Otago Lane! – External Links

I wish I’d spotted this months ago, when it first came into the public forum, but I always seem to ‘step back’ from searching around the various news feeds just at the wrong time, as it can be a time-consuming pastime, and often yields little reward. Looks as if I should may be start again, but try and find a better way to scan it more effectively. That said, it may be there is not easy way to do it. One site I used to really enjoy referring to disappeared a few years ago, and I later discovered the owner had given up for the very reason that he reckoned collecting more and more news items to review had eventually given him more work and stress than his job, and contributed to the heart attack that had knocked him offline, and I stopped doing the same shortly after that warning, when  I realised how many hours I was spending doing just the same every week

On the other hand, I still hate discovering things like the above have been going on for months, and I didn’t have the slightest clue they were there.

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June 16, 2010 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council | , , , , | 1 Comment

Reality could awaken old wave power technology

Sea wavesEither my opponents are getting tired, or have just decided I am some sort of nut (took them long enough), but I seem to be collecting less flak as time goes on and I continue to peddle my pet theory that wind power was little more than a handy cash cow in the early day of renewables. Unlike wave or tidal power systems, all the prospective wind power developer had to do was hijack some nice land where the numbers could be stacked to show potential, and a fairly standard box of wind turbine parts could be despatched and assembled to merit payment of a handy subsidy, more commonly referred to as Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC), or RO in Scotland.

This is generally misinterpreted as my suggesting that there was something untoward, or even fraudulent, in this process, but all I really intend to do by pointing out the blindingly obvious is that the easy route was taken, and the more difficult, but effective, road to wave or tidal power was bypassed. The subsidy was always available to any form of renewable power generation, the thing was that the only worthwhile system were usually wind based. The reason is obvious. By comparison, sea based renewable power means coping with a corrosive environment, and a liquid power source that carries much more energy than is gaseous partner, meaning that the hardware has to be much stronger to cope.

Back at the start of the wave and tidal power search, there was little research (and the bulk of the interest was in the speedy return from easily manufactured wind systems), and less incentive as a result. Now, the message that the land would have to be buried under wind turbines is beginning to get through, and wave/tidal schemes are beginning to look more attractive, especially since coal is still seen as dirty for various reasons, CCS (carbon capture and storage) is still to get going seriously, and the old radiophobia problem is still being loudly championed by those opposed to nuclear power.

The potential good news is that as time has passed, material science has progressed, we have better computer control systems, and the old ideas that were not developed in the early years of wave/tidal power may hold new promised if revisited and addressed using ‘new’ technology.

The BBC reported that ‘forgotten’ wave power technology from the 1980s was being examined and evolved to provide design inspiration for new systems currently being developed, and that there had been an assumption that because the technology hadn’t worked then, it wasn’t worthy of reconsideration. However, it seems that as is usually the case, making an assumption rather than a reasoned judgement was a bad idea, and that by revisiting the earlier ideas, but using modern material, an effective wave power generator could be built.

BBC News – Firm develops ‘forgotten’ wave power technology

It may be taking a while but, as time passes, it looks as if the ideas I’ve been posting in here about wave/tidal power over the past few years (while I also took a gentle, but firm, swipe at wind power) just might not be the ramblings of a deranged lunatic after all.

This particular project has another couple of years to run, so we’ll see how close I was, and if there’s anything useful to be had, or if any more ‘surprises’ join it.

June 16, 2010 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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