Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Europe
A price worth paying? The Braes O'Doune windfarm towers over Stirling Castle. The 36 looming turbines dominate the skyline of the Braes O'Doune and have angered many local residents, who claim they have blighted one of Scotland's classic vistas.
Plans by Lewis Windpower for a wind farm at Barvas Moor in Lewis have been refused consent on the grounds of incompatibility with European law. Ministers have concluded that the proposed 181 turbine Lewis Wind Farm would have a serious impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area, which is designated under the EC Birds Directive and protected under the EC Habitats Directive. ..."European legislation requires a specific procedure to be followed when proposals which could potentially affect Special Protection Areas come forward. I considered all the relevant issues and concluded it would not be possible to approve this application.
You have got to admire the gall of Viking Energy. They say that the total area of peat disturbed by the wind farm will be 371 acres. This equates to about 2.4 acres per turbine. This is probably the correct area that is immediately affected by an individual wind turbine with regards to the concrete base, construction disturbance and access. But like all of Viking Energy's propaganda this is not the full story - and well we know it. For a forest of wind turbines to work effectively they have to be placed at a certain distance apart to avoid taking the wind out of each other's blades. For a 1.5MW turbine this is about 0.13 square km per MW installed. So for this proposed wind farm of 554MW, the land area disturbed will be at least 72 square km or 17,500 acres. Rather more than 371 acres!
At the seminar, organised by Mr Stevenson, who is the president of the Intergroup on Sustainable Development, leading scientists agreed that building on peat bogs could be a disaster. "We are getting the whole development of wind power catastrophically wrong if we allow wind farms to continue to be developed on peatland," Mr Stevenson said. There are 980 wind-farm proposals in place across Europe, of which 187 would be built on peatland. Some are gigantic wind farms, such as that proposed for on Lewis. "This is a looming catastrophe," said Mr Stevenson. The problem of building wind farms on peat bogs was highlighted in a report in The Scotsman earlier this week.
People living in Earthcott Green fear three wind turbines will blow away any remaining tranquillity in the area. The turbines have been proposed on farmland off Old Gloucester Road by Stroud-based power company Ecotricity. It maintains the 210ft high turbines - fitted with blades almost 40ft long - will not have a significant impact on the area and will generate enough power to supply 3,000 homes. But unhappy residents who live near the proposed site claim the company has picked the wrong area.
Scotland's vast expanses of peat bogs are regarded as our equivalent of the rainforests, and 17 per cent of the world's "blanket bog" is in this country. In all, Scottish peatlands cover some 1.9 million hectares and contain about two billion tons of carbon - roughly four times the UK's annual output - as well as "sucking in" carbon from the atmosphere. But the wild land on Lewis could be turned into an industrial landscape if the building of 176 turbines is granted approval, and other vital peatlands face the same fate. ...The Scottish Government has said it is "minded to refuse" the £500 million project but has yet to make a final decision. If it does go ahead, thousands of tonnes of peat would be excavated from the moor and huge amounts of concrete and aggregates poured into the ground to accommodate the foundations, roads and sub-stations. ..."In the headlong rush to cut carbon emissions, the EU and the UK government are throwing money into renewable energy without any coherent planning strategy to determine where wind farms should and shouldn't be built.
People in a cluster of the North's former mining villages are preparing to speak out against plans to build a 13-turbine wind farm. Scottish Power subsidiary CRE Energy wants to erect the 121m-high turbines on farmland west of the Alcan aluminium complex at Lynemouth, which would be 40 metres taller than the smelter's landmark chimneys. ...Castle Morpeth councillors rejected the CRE Energy application a year ago, claiming the turbines will be excessive and over-dominant in the flat, coastal landscape. But the company has said it is confident of succeeding with its appeal. Its original bid for 16 turbines was scaled down because of local opposition.
Last month, Stockton Council's planning committee refused an application for a 60m test mast to be located in a field between the two villages to gather wind data over a period of two years. [Stockton MP] Dari Taylor met Dr Leo Hicks and retired industrial chemist Dr Doug Wallace who are leading a protest, supported by the two villages' 400 residents. The MP told them she totally opposes wind farms when they are placed in a rural setting, spoiling the countryside. Ms Taylor said: "Wind farms have their place out in the North Sea or on redundant parts of MOD land, but not in beautiful countryside. ..."Now an energy company wants to place a large wind farm across the beautiful countryside between Hilton and Seamer. "I think they are ugly, incredibly noisy and don't produce enough energy.
An MP is standing shoulder to shoulder with villagers objecting to a planned eight-turbine wind farm. Stockton South MP Dari Taylor says the installation of 120-metre high turbines between the villages of Hilton and Seamer, close to Yarm, near Stockton, will be an eyesore. She said: "I think the Government should acknowledge we already have enough to impede the lives we lead. The rural idyll is something we should go to any lengths to protect. Quite frankly, there has been a paucity of thought on this policy. It is just plain wrong. "I am all for renewable energy, but not at any cost. I don't want them to scar the countryside." ...Dr Hicks said: "Its not Nimbyism - it's not in anyone's backyard. "Wind farms are not farms, they are an industrial development. We are opposed to this proposal because of the visual impact it will have on the area, the noise and the health hazard - vibro-acoustic disease."
... yesterday, councillors refused the proposals after considering comments from Tim Page, conservation adviser for Natural England. Mr Page said the development, which would be close to the Humber Estuary Special Protection Area, would have an adverse effect on wildlife. He said: "We advise that the council is not in a position to conclude that there will not be an adverse effect on the estuary." This was supported by the councillors sitting on the committee. Coun John Colebrook (Con, Humberston and New Waltham), said: "There is no point in having a conservation area and then making ways of intruding into it."
"According to ScottishPower, the project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 650,000 tonnes per year." Erecting a wind farm per se does not reduce emissions. A reduction in emissions only takes place when fossil generation is displaced by the wind generation. But because the wind is variable, intermittent, sometimes too strong for turbines and is largely unpredictable, back-up power-station generation is required continuously, irrespective of wind conditions, to ensure a reliable electricity supply. If the 180,000 homes mentioned were to rely only on the output of Whitelee wind farm, they would be unable to switch anything electrical on with any confidence that it would work because of the unreliable output from wind farms.
Our beloved county is facing the biggest threat ever to its unique heritage, economy and beautiful landscape. ..."Cumbria is on course for its 100th commercial scale wind turbine. But that number would actually double very quickly if developers did not run into so much opposition across the county (The Cumberland News, November 16)." The situation has deteriorated seriously since then as the full implications of the Government's latest turbine intentions have become apparent. I was recently informed by a member of the West Cumbrian Development Agency that wind turbines currently occupy a total of five square miles of our county and then when the Government's plans are fully implemented this will grow to an area of 250 square miles - a 5000 per cent increase.
A Campaign to halt a proposed wind farm on Sheffield parkland is picking up speed. Protesters this week lobbied leading councillors in their attempts to blow away the plans for Westwood Country Park at High Green. And they pointed to opposition from their local MP, Angela Smith, who says the park is "totally unsuitable" for a wind farm, partly because it would be near hundreds of homes. Andy Redfern, who chairs the action group, Save Westwood Country Park, said: "The storm that this has elicited in local people is quite tangible. ...Mr Redfern asked councillors: "Given this is a piece of green belt land and Hillsborough MP Angela Smith opposes these plans, as do local residents, will you abandon the plans? No other windfarms are near so many homes. Please stop this madness."
If you have a hankering to see Britain's green and pleasant countryside or its rugged coastline, you shouldn't wait too long. They are both likely to disappear soon under thousands of massive, swirling, 400-foot wind turbines. Recently, U.K. Industry Secretary John Hutton announced that the British government is planning 25 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity, adding to the 8 GW already in development. A grand plan that could, in theory anyway, power all of Britain's 25 million homes by as early as 2020. Wind seems to be blowing in the minds of the politically correct and those on the environmentalist bandwagon. But the cost is going to be huge, no companies will plunge into it without massive government subsidies, and should the turbines actually be built, power reliability will almost certainly take a nosedive. ...The bottom line is that the debate about renewables, and investment in them, is as much about ideology and political belief as about economics and environmental issues. When the real cost of wind power as a major player in our future power needs is assessed, the answer won't be found just "blowin' in the wind."
The Scottish Government has ruled out a change in law which would have protected some of the country's most picturesque areas from a "barrage" of wind farm applications. Politicians including Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser had demanded the introduction of a law which would have created "no go" areas for wind farm developments. He insists the legislation would have protected some of Scotland's most beautiful areas, including huge swathes of rural Perthshire in his constituency. ..."We certainly need to have better and stronger guidelines or the current barrage of wind farm applications in areas such Perthshire will continue.
He told the Lynn News: "The intention is to protect the unusual and singular view of places like The Fens and also the lush and picturesque landscape of North West Norfolk. "The Fens is a place internationally recognised as an area of flat landscape where rainbows can be seen end to end and both sound and vision can be measured in miles rather than yards. "The rest of North West Norfolk is also a rare and beautiful place and I am attempting to protect it for future generations by limiting the height of any structure built in open countryside to a very generous 246 feet - which seems to be more than reasonable."
A Wind farm protest group has accused Your Energy of failing to properly assess the visual impacts of its proposed Moorsyde scheme. Moorsyde Action Group (MAG) says the photomontages to illustrate the seven 360 feet high turbines planned between Ancroft North Moor and Duddo are inadequate and misleading. "We have been forced to produce artist's impressions of the turbines from nearby settlements such as Ancroft South Moor because Your Energy Ltd (YEL) have failed to provide them," said a MAG spokesman. ...The county archaeologist is also understood to have asked that impacts on nearby Duddo Church and Duddo Tower should be taken into account. MAG say that Your Energy have failed to provide any photomontages that illustrate the visual impacts on these sites even though the company's own environmental statement admits that the landscape within 3km would be 'substantially' altered and that turbines would be 'visually dominant' within that distance, resulting in impacts of 'major significance'.
Plans for the UK's largest onshore wind farm on the Shetlands have come under fierce opposition from protesters, four years after the idea was proposed. A planning application for around 155 wind turbines, each up to 145 metres from blade to tip, is due to be submitted to councillors this summer. ...Opponents claim it will damage a landscape little changed since the last minor Ice Age. They are concerned that the turbines will be visible from almost every vantage point on the islands and beyond. They also fear that, once the sub-sea cable is installed, other developers will want to make use of every hillside in Shetland, turning it from an island community into little more than an offshore UK wind factory.
Plans to land a 200 mile long power cable to export power from Shetland's proposed windfarm have been condemned by a local fish grower as "a double whammy" to his business. Yesterday (Thursday) it emerged that Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd (SHETL) plan to land the interconnector cable in scenic Weisdale Voe, on Shetland's west side, after eliminating a shortlist of five other landing sites. Under the plans, the cable will hook up to the 160 turbine windfarm being planned by community-owned Viking Energy and SHETL's parent company Scottish & Southern Energy at a convertor station in the Kergord valley.
Wales is in danger of being smothered "in a blanket of wind turbines," says the Conservatives assembly environment spokesman. Darren Millar AM told delegates at the Welsh party's conference in Llandudno that the assembly government had a "blind obsession" with wind power. Mr Millar said the Conservatives were not against wind energy, only large scale windfarms. He said the current policy was leading to a "massive democratic deficit". Mr Millar said the decisions of local councillors were being ignored and the views of local communities disregarded.