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Around 3,000 customers were left without power, and traffic lights were dark for almost four hours, after a downed transformer shuttered power in an area southeast of London’s downtown core early Wednesday morning. The largest affected area was from Adelaide St, just south of the Thames, to Horton St, and east from Maitland St to Rectory St.
To retrieve your password, enter your email address below and your password will be sent to you. One of the last places in Scotland to be reconnected after Tuesday’s blackout was Ardentinny at 3am on Friday morning.
Until lunchtime on Tuesday, Ardentinny village was totally cut-off with fallen trees on the main road at Glenfinart Caravan Park and at Gairletter. Part of a tree at Ardentinny Outdoor Centre fell on to the main shore road, narrowly missing a parked van and  shearing the main phone lines to residents on the northern end of the village.  Half the village is therefore without phone or broadband service. Thursday saw the first arrival of engineers from Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD).
Customers who believe they have grounds for making a claim should write to: Claims Department, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution, Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ. Given recent media reports of safety concerns at HM naval Base Clyde, of which Coulport is part, plus the sounding of the emergency alarms outwith the regular Monday morning alarm tests, we contacted the Ministry of Defence with the suggestion that the Coulport facility liaise with Ardentinny.org and other neighbouring communities to provide regular information on these emergency alarms.
I can appreciate your concern given the occasions when elements of the media report misleadingly and inaccurately on safety at HM Naval Base Clyde.
In further correspondence with RNAD Coulport we reiterated our request that the communities surrounding the base be made aware (after the event) as to the reason for each alarm alert, whether they be exercises or actual incidents.
Local MSP Michael Russell said “The MoD needs to listen to its neighbours in Ardentinny. Newly elected Cowal Councillor Gordon Blair said “I will discuss this issue with my colleagues in the Helensburgh and Lomond area to check if there is any such arrangement there for the people of Cove etc. We understand that a representative from the MOD used to attend Ardentinny Community Council meetings and that a member of Ardentinny Community Council has been in contact with HM Naval Base Clyde requesting that this be reinstated. Alex McNaughton, Lewis MacDonald, Chris Talbot, Ron Simon, Dave Dewar (Chair), Gordon Blair, Bruce Marshall, Stephen Johnstone & Russell Weir. Prior to the May 3rd Council elections, hustings for the Cowal Ward took place in the Uig Hall on Monday 23rd April.
The first question of interest, not only to residents of Ardentinny but to those of Cowal and Dunoon, was on the the vexed issue of the ferries. All the candidates were asked what their position was regarding Argyll and Bute Council’s plan to implement a ?440 licence fee for any group or person performing live music in public, with the prospect of a criminal prosecution and a fine of up to ?20,000 for non-compliance. A member of the audience then asked how the candidates would champion the cause of people with special needs.
The Chair of the Caucus of Community Councils asked the candidates, if elected, what they could offer by way of support in the funding of community councils. The most pertinent question regarding Ardentinny, as opposed to the rest of the Cowal Ward, was a question directed to Bruce Marshall for his expressed special interest in the environment and to Chris Talbot, being a retired member of the Royal Navy.
Assisted by the multi-role vessel Mary M, historic tug Golden Cross reached its final destination off Ardentinny earlier today after a 650 mile voyage from Falmouth. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has issued a timely reminder to all dog walkers in the park to keep their dogs on leads when walking near livestock. Dog owners should also remember that farmers regularly rotate fields containing sheep, therefore, the owner may not necessarily be sure what’s on the other side of the hedge.
The Clyde bases that host Britain’s nuclear bombs and submarines are plagued by widespread safety flaws, according to an internal Ministry of Defence (MoD) report obtained by the Sunday Herald.
Critics fear that the problems could trigger a major nuclear accident at Faslane or Coulport that would contaminate Glasgow with radioactivity. The MoD’s latest annual review of safety reveals that 11 of the bases’ 13 activities have been officially declared unsatisfactory after assessments by site managers and regulators.
Nine safety activities were colour-coded yellow because they were “below standard” and suffered “some specific weaknesses”. Two activities were coded orange because they were “significantly below standard” with “flawed” practices or procedures. No further details about the precise nature of the safety weaknesses were given in the review, or by the MoD. The revelations were “of grave concern”, according to the SNP’s defence spokesman in Westminster, Angus Robertson MP.
18 days on since some 40 Ardentinny homes and businesses lost their fixed line communications during the storms of January 3, the last affected villagers have now been re-connected by BT. The severe gusts on the morning of January 3 brought down part of a large tree overhanging the main shore road near Ardentinny Outdoor Centre. The normal sequence for the customer to report a fault appears to be to call 151 (from a fixed line). Over subsequent days it would appear that many residents did not (or were unable to) report the fault with their line. On January 11, only five temporary lines were installed to premises on the shorefront, apparently due to the fragility of the pole. It is a poor reflection on BT that it appeared to take the intervention of an MSP, who has access to the highest level of BT management, to resolve this issue.
Over the past few days Ardentinny has seen a welcome increase in the number of BT engineers on the ground and the lines have been re-connected. These can affect your DJ or band's performance by tripping out the power in the event of too much noise.
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More than 44 000 people were evacuated when the quake struck 11 km’s east of the city of Kumamoto late on Thursday night.
Almost 100 aftershocks have been recorded since the quake, with authorities warning more could be on the way.

The 2011 quake caused tsunami waves along Japan’s coastline that killed nearly 20 000 people and caused a nuclear power plant meltdown. If you’re at risk of heart attack or stroke… new evidence suggests there may be a way to put the “rabbit food” away.
The Victorian government is cracking down on prescription drug addicts “doctor shopping” to get high. Nine Network reporter Michael Usher has confessed the 60 Minutes crew at the centre of a botched child recovery attempt, “made mistakes”.
Solar-powered plane ‘Solar Impulse-2’ has safely completed a three-day trip across the Pacific Ocean, in one of the most dangerous legs of its trip around the world. Despite heightened travel warnings and terrible weather conditions, hundreds of proud Australians have gathered at Gallipoli to mark Anzac Day. Emergency crews from Hydro One had to be called in to assess the damage and work to repair the transformer.
Along with many other parts of Scotland, severe gales early on Tuesday morning brought down power lines, mainly due to fallen trees. Local residents Jim Robinson, Guy Elder and a small team of volunteers used chainsaws to clear the Glenfinart road in atrocious conditions while local farmer David Marshall and his team cleared the road opposite Gairletter Caravan site in the late morning.
Engineers could be seen throughout the village with several repairing fallen power lines between the village hall and Glenfinart Hotel. The Observer also added its own erroneous introduction to the article without checking with the source of the article.
Spy said “I’m happy to confirm that the general alarm was activated on the 10th of May. Spy continued “RNAD Coulport has a single general alarm, which triggers automatic and generic responses to a variety of possible incidents from security alerts to fire alarms, consequently it is used as trigger to a variety of exercises throughout the year as the depot demonstrates its response to a variety of regulatory bodies. I would like to assure you, and members of the Ardentinny community, that the Naval Base makes safety its single top priority. Such an initiative by RNAD Coulport would provide greater transparency for its operations and the concerns as to the safety of those living in the surrounding area who, until now, have been kept in the dark regarding these alerts. Out of 165 eligible voters, 74 had voted (45%) with an additional possible 56 postal votes. Chris Talbot said the Council needed to pressure the government in order to get what the residents wanted. This would potentially close music clubs, hamper money-raising efforts for charity and Creative Scotland has advised Councils not implement this. Alex McNaughton said that he had already publicly stated that he would make care of the elderly and the disabled a very high priority. Alex McNaughton informed the meeting that it had just been agreed to pay transport costs of Community Councillors for distances over the first 20 miles.
Otherwise voting will take place at your local polling station on the 3rd May, 2012, from 7 a.m.
Built by Scott and Sons at their Bowling yard in 1955, The 132 ton tug was in danger of being sold overseas or scrapped when a group of Argyll residents decided to rescue the vessel and bring her to Ardentinny. Over the past six weeks, nine incidents have been reported to Central Scotland Police involving dogs and sheep.
A normally placid family dog can become a killer in a field of sheep and, even if the sheep remain untouched, it could cause lambs to be aborted or death of the sheep later. The review was released last week in response to a request under freedom of information legislation. These included categories headed “weapons safety”, “safety culture”, “maintenance”, “safety performance indicators”, “site safety case”, “nuclear safety event reporting” and “conventional health and safety including fire safety”. On nuclear weapons safety the review just said there had been “shortfalls in specific areas or delays in progressing projects”.
Brendan Dick, Managing Director, BT Regions has asked us if there is anything to be learned from this episode. This in turn sliced through the main telephone cable (see here) which connects the north of the village. However, for the majority, this would not have been possible, given that they had no fixed line.
The reason for this we assume is that the majority of residents were aware that it was a major line cut on the shore and considered that, once BT saw the problem, they would realise which of their customers were without lines and re-connect them as soon as possible. Finally, with no further updates from BT, we contacted Michael Russell MSP for Argyll & Bute. This could have been done by post, outlining the problem and giving an anticipated re-connection date. Of our calls to BT, it appeared that the BT staff were not aware that some 40+ properties were affected. Without his vital assistance, Ardentinny may have had to wait a great deal longer for us all to be re-connected. This can cause prolonged breaks in the entertainment or event curtailment of the event should an outage damage electronic equipment. The move has been prompted by the out of control rate of prescription overdose deaths plaguing the state. It was hoped that supplies would be restored on Thursday evening, however this did not happen.
I do though appreciate that on a still day the sound of the alarm will carry to Ardentinny. The Naval Base, of which Coulport is an integral part, is a Nuclear Authorised site and is subject to regulation by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator and other regulatory bodies. Such openness should be the norm, not the exception and I hope management at RNAD Coulport will quickly take up the idea. It is not compulsory to do so and apparently Glasgow City Council has waived it while Edinburgh has not. Lewis Macdonald stated that he felt smaller schools were better placed to deal with special needs where pupils are individuals rather than a number. He said that the outgoing Chief Inspector Moseley had given his written support and he asked the candidates if they would support it. Ardentinny is only too aware of the consequences if a dog comes into contact with sheep, given the sad incident a couple of years ago when a pet dog was shot by a local farmer.

Our immediate observations follow and hopefully other BT customers, affected by the outage, will also offer their feedback. The other option is to report via the web (fixed line or mobile broadband) or by mobile phone on 800 800 151. We informed them that the main village cable had been cut and that most probably half the village was now without phone lines.
As can be seen from the email between Michael Russell and BT’s Head of Scottish Affairs, Ian Shanks, it was considered that BT was tardy in providing a deadline for the repair. As a rural community, one appreciates that towns and cities will have priority over small villages.
Given the difficult terrain around Ardentinny and the high density of forestation, engineers are having to survey the entire network for signs of damaged cables and equipment. Quite simply, if HM Naval Base Clyde did not meet these bodies’ stringent standards then we would not be permitted to operate. Chris Talbot said it was the duty of the council to provide for those with special needs while Ron Simon expressed concern at the lack of preventative spend. There was also general discussion regarding the use of video conferencing and car sharing, wherever possible, with which all concurred. He added that the assertion about cases of leukaemia was not proven and that there had been no extra cases of leukaemia in the area. Everyone was in favour of the reduction though some suggested that it be imposed up to as far as Benmore Gardens. There are 9 candidates for 3 places so you can select the three you wish to serve on the Council to represent the Cowal ward by writing no 1 in the box of your first choice; no. As the main shore cable carries dozens of smaller cables, it would appear that BT engineers needed access to each property to match the cable to the customer’s line. He advised that no engineers were available and that it may be 3 days until BT could attend to it. However, rural BT customers should expect a level of service comparable to the rest of the country, which includes keeping them informed. Gordon Blair, who is a member of the Ferry Action Group, said they were taking Transport Scotland to task and agreed that they had to get the issue resolved. He said that currently the Council has a policy of supporting priority 1 and 2 cases over priority 3 and 4. Chris Talbot said what was important was that Argyll and Bute has a very strong group and that he wasn’t convinced, if elected, that the SNP would deliver. Chris Talbot responded by saying that he was not a sub-mariner but had worked in communications and he had spent the last five years of service on the base. Later in the week we were given dates of 9 and 12 January for re-connection by the BT call centre in India. Alex McNaughton said the boats were substandard and not safe and that the Council has to put in a massive effort to rectify the situation. However, if priorities 3 and 4 received the support they needed it would prevent them eventually coming under the category of 1 and 2, thus saving the council more money in the long run. He said the Nuclear Regulator was very hot on the Clyde Base and not much happens they don’t know about. Ron Simon said he would continue to work hard to bring about the necessary improvements, pledging to deliver what the people wanted. He felt it should be about needs, not money and that there also ought to be a spokesperson for the care of children and families with special needs.
When people stand together on a manifesto they have a common ethos and when people vote they know what they are voting for. He said there had been leaks but that they were minor and he was not aware of high instances of leukaemia.
You can also fill in all the boxes, prioritising numbers 4 to 9 if you wish to indicate who you would like to see serve should any of  your 1-3 choices not be elected. Lewis MacDonald suggested that the Council becomes such a thorn in the side of the government on this issue, that it is easier for them to give us the boats we want. Gordon Blair said that one way of measuring the wealth of our society is to measure how well they look after the most vulnerable.
A local example being the proposed closure of rural schools which was a red line issue for the SNP. Gordon Blair added that if there is contamination it needs to be cleaned up and local government needs to push for it and that at present the Scottish government is in conversation with the MOD on that subject.
He reminded those present that on joining local government you have to form a political grouping of some sort and if the independents join together, they do so without a common ethos and the policy direction becomes watered down so that they each get their own bit.
He said they have taken on the concerns of CLASP (Cowal Local Action Special Project) and they have decided to set up a service allowance to meet their needs which will come into effect with the new council. He believes that being a member of a party and a local councillor are not mutually exclusive and that he can represent both just as easily. He also said that the council had decided to incorporate 10% of all social housing to meet the needs of disabled people. Lewis MacDonald said he was there to represent the Ward, not Conservative Central Office and he did not see a conflict and he would work to make our rural communities as vibrant as possible. Stephen Johnstone said that the few disabled in Ardentinny find that the older they get, the less support is available. Gordon Blair felt that by focussing on SNP policies it could produce the best results for this rural area and that, up to now, the public had been short changed by the independents. He said money should not come into it and that we should be throwing everything at them for the time they are here.
Russell Weir concluded by saying that it is so important that the elderly and the most vulnerable continue to receive high quality care.

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