Photo credit @David_Cameron
The invitation to a Business Leaders’ Breakfast Event said the speaker would be a ‘VIP Senior Cabinet Minister of the UK Government’. It didn’t need a rocket scientist to work out that the politician in question is aka as David Cameron.
My countdown is set to the start of the XXth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow at 19 days to go. However the PM has his sights set on the Scottish Independence Referendum in September, so it was no surprise that the theme for the breakfast event revolved around the arguments for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.
David Cameron told us that there are four key business reasons to retain the Union:
The PM then answered questions from the floor on a broad range of topics including: Oil and Gas, Poverty, Infrastructure and Education
With all this said David Cameron could not better his announcement yesterday of a City Deal for Glasgow and the region. City Deal means that £500 million will be injected in to Glasgow and the surrounding area to strengthen the economy.
With the Scottish Government matching the £500 million pledge and local authorities in the Clyde Valley area contributing £130m, a £1.1billion infrastructure fund will be created to support the much needed city centre airport rail link and major improvements to the region’s roads and bus network. The City Deal is scheduled to create 28,000+ new jobs over the next 20 years.
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said of the pledge “We endorse the principal of City Deal on two counts. Firstly it will involve investment in economic infrastructure across the local authorities that make up the real Glasgow economy to promote economic growth. Secondly it requires firm discipline in agreeing the projects giving the local authorities a genuine incentive to choose projects that improve the economy and create jobs”.
Financial pledges for Scotland like this are very welcome anytime no matter what party they come from.
The day started off at 8am sharp with a visit to Whitelee Windfarm for a behind the scenes tour with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. We met at the visitors centre high on Eaglesham moor overlooking Glasgow to the South.
Considering it’s the Easter break there was a good crowd hungry to find out all about the towering turbines that dominate the skyline (you can even see them clearly as you walk down Buchanan Street). First of all we were bused out to meet engineers on-site in the shadow of turbine 72 (extremely tall when you stand underneath one of them) and heard first hand how the turbines and the windfarm operates – here come the factoids:
- They are stabilised underground by 8m of concrete, which is attached to bedrock
- From base to tip of blade, they stand 145ft tall
- They are in use for approx. 98% of the time
- Whitelee until recently was Europe’s biggest windfarm
- The site has 140km of road which is floated on the extensive peat bog
- The farm generates enough electricity for 300,000 homes
- The turbines automatically rotate and blades angle depending on the direction and speed of the wind
- Whitelee is opening a purpose built public mountain bike track in May
When I left home at 7.30am the morning was quite pleasant but high on the moor it was a different story, it felt pretty arctic and extremely windy, a very good location for the turbines – trust me!
It was very interesting but we were all glad to head back indoors after our tour for a welcomed coffee, bacon roll and some good networking.
…I’m sure there are many more ‘geekie’ facts and lots of fun stuff to see and do at the visitors centre and farm so best get your boots and jacket on and go and explore for yourself. It offers fantastic panoramic views across the central belt, north up Loch Lomond and south and west down the Ayrshire coast – excellent photo opportunities. Below are a few pictures I’ve taken during recent visits.
Thanks to Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Siemens and ScottishPower Renewables for a great event and insight into something that is ever increasing in our landscape.
Photographs by Julian Westaby