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The Independent on Sunday has learnt that, in an astonishing U-turn, the Secretary of State for Business, John Hutton, will announce that he is opening up the seas around Britain to wind farms in the biggest ever renewable energy initiative. Only weeks ago he was resisting a major expansion of renewable sources, on the grounds that it would interfere with plans to build new nuclear power stations. ...The announcement is the first step in implementing the offshore wind power revolution, which is likely to run into far less environmental opposition than proposals to build wind farms on land.
Business Secretary John Hutton says he wants to open up British seas to allow enough new turbines - up to 7,000 - to power all UK homes by the year 2020. He acknowledged "it is going to change our coastline", but said the issue of climate change was "not going away". The thrust of the idea was backed by Tory Alan Duncan: "We're an island nation. There's a lot of wind around." ...The other choice was, he said, whether it was "easier to have these developments offshore rather than onshore". Asked what would happen if there was no wind for a few days, Mr Hutton said that was why there had to be a mix of energy sources - including nuclear power - to cover for calmer weather periods.
The pylons would form part of the upgrading of the power link between north and south Scotland. Extra electricity from new wind farms being built in the Highlands must be transmitted to power users in cities in the south. Scottish and Southern Energy says the £320m upgrade - on the line between Beauly, near Inverness, and Denny, near Stirling - would consist of 600 pylons, 40 to 64 metres high, with a section going through Cairngorms National Park. The idea has horrified landowners, wildlife groups and walkers: 18,000 people have formally objected to the Beauly-Denny plan. ...should Britain's commitment to renewable energy take precedence over its need to preserve its wild places?
The Ministry of Defence have been accused of shooting down Gordon Brown's plans for tackling global warming by opposing wind farms across Britain. ...A Commons written answer by the Defence minister Derek Twigg has revealed that the MoD has opposed 28 planning applications for wind farms between 2005 and 2007. Harry Cohen, the Labour MP, who obtained the answer, said: "It just shows that one hand of the government doesn't know what the other is doing."
Wind farm plans which generated huge controversy in the Afan Valley have suffered a massive blow.Neath Port Talbot planning officers have advised councillors to throw out Eco2's proposal to put four giant turbines on Mynydd Corrwg Fechan overlooking Glyncorrwg. At 125 metres, they would have been some of the biggest in Wales, around 34 metres taller than those already in place at Ffynnon Oer in the same valley. The authority's planning committee is due to make a final decision on the 12MW scheme on Tuesday, but, sensing victory, delighted campaigners have welcomed the officers' stance. "This is a great Christmas present
This is a time for cool heads and a no-nonsense approach in dealings with companies that stand to make millions out of renewable schemes. While accepting the need to meet our ever-increasing energy requirements from alternative and sustainable resources, it's crucial that we also scrutinise each proposal on merit, take full account of those most affected and ensure that cast-iron conditions are in place over exit strategies.
Plans to add seven more turbines to the county's only wind farm have been submitted, but villagers say the 100 metre-high turbines will be too close to their homes. Burton Wold Wind Farm in Burton Latimer could be extended to 17 turbines after plans were put forward. The £15m project could see the additional turbines providing electricity for a further 7,200 homes in Kettering borough over 25 years. The turbines would be sited less than a mile from Cranford and Burton Latimer. ...Joy Beeby is a resident of Cranford and a member of the parish council. She said: "I am not at all keen. I'm not anti-wind farms but I think that Cranford has enough to put up with at the moment with the threat of thousands of homes being built near the village.
The decision on whether a controversial wind farm will be built near Brent Knoll has been delayed by at least a fortnight. The planning inspectorate told the Weston & Somerset Mercury this week that the final decision, which was due to be announced on November 23, could be another two or three weeks. The decision is about plans to build five wind turbines at a farm off Stoddens Lane near the Somerset village.
If Eco2’s application is approved at a planning meeting on Tuesday, four 410ft turbines – amongst the tallest in Britain – will be built on farmland overlooking the village GAG spokesman Bob Slater claims the incident in Scotland last month raises serious safety issues. A 200ft high turbine bent in half in 50mph winds, leaving its blades on the ground. Mr Slater also cites an example in Germany when a 10-metre fragment of rotor blade was sent spinning 200 metres through the air.
One of Britain's largest green energy companies has damned the MoD as being "biggest single obstacle to wind power in the UK" after it opposed a second Norfolk wind farm. The future of wind energy in the county was thrown into doubt last night after it emerged that the MoD has raised concerns over Ecotricity's plans for six turbines between Sporle and Swaffham. The MoD says that trials conducted in 2004 and 2005 on the effects of wind turbines on radar systems identified that even solitary turbines can significantly reduce operational effectiveness when in line of sight.
A BALLOT should be held to enable people living near the site of a controversial wind-farm proposal in Caithness have their say on the development, according to a local Highland councillor. David Flear, a Landward Caithness member, made the suggestion after it emerged that the hearing into the Baillie Wind Farm Ltd planning application was to be postponed. Highland councillors were due to consider the wind-farm scheme at a meeting of the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Planning Applications and Review Committee in Halkirk yesterday. However, the hearing was put back following complaints made by some objectors who claimed several hundred fellow opponents had not been notified of the meeting.
I would like to draw your attention to an article on P.35 of the "NFU Countryside" magazine (November 2007 issue) that describes the noise from a wind farm near Deeping St Nicholas that is 930 metres from a farm house. It is so bad that the farm tenants (Julian and Jane Davis) have to rent another house in Spalding in which to sleep. The problem is "amplitude modulation" caused by the blades moving in and out of synchronisation and causing noise they describe as "like four helicopters circling above your property or an approaching train". ...I am, in principle, in favour of wind farms but when you visit Holland, Germany and other European countries with a far higher density of wind farms you will very quickly notice that they are sited well away from any habitation.
OPPONENTS of a proposal to build a wind farm on a Northumberland moor yesterday handed a bill for about £60,000 to the applicant, after deeming a public inquiry a waste of time. Save Northumberland's Environment (Sane) said npower renewables should not have pursued its application to erect 18 125m turbines at Middlemoor, near South Charlton in Alnwick district, all the way to the hearing. The group said npower had known about the Ministry of Defence's opposition to its plan on aviation grounds for several years, which members say made a costly public inquiry pointless. Sane had invested in the region of £60,000 opposing the proposals at the hearing on the grounds that the turbines would irreparably harm scenic countryside.
A plan to build a major wind farm on Lewis should be allowed to go ahead, but on a much smaller scale, Western Isles councillors decided yesterday. Scottish & Southern Energy had wanted to put up 125 turbines - each nearly 500ft tall - at Pairc in South Lochs, but later reduced this to 57 bigger and more powerful generators. However, yesterday the council's environment and protective services committee backed only 26 of these, saying the other 31 were in unsuitable sites. A spokesman for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - Western Isles Council - said: "We are not saying it has to be 26. If they could resite some of these turbines, the council was open to that."
A damning report into the handling of a planning application to build Lincolnshire's biggest wind farm said council officers committed a catalogue of errors. It said planners at East Lindsey District Council made mistakes in dealing with the 20-turbine wind farm at Conisholme, near Louth. ...Lawyers said officers "inappropriately" concluded the benefits of the turbines outweighed any harm to the landscape. They also criticised the lack of minutes taken from crucial meetings about the application. The role of ELDC chief executive Nigel Howells came under the spotlight as he stepped in at the October planning meeting to provide "senior officer presence" because there was no monitoring officer or legal adviser. That was despite him being "closely involved" through correspondence with both Ecotricity and the objectors.
Volume house builder Barratt Developments has published preliminary findings from its experimental ‘eco village’ project in Chorley, Lancashire – a 15 month long test of how effectively ‘green’ technologies can be incorporated into new homes. ...wind turbines were judged ‘disappointing’. Both the 1.7m and 1m turbine performed below the theoretical available output based on the recorded wind speed throughout the trial period. Simple payback period analysis has not been carried out.
Campaigners fighting to stop wind farms at a conservation area today took their case to the Scottish Parliament. They do not want the 125 turbines, each 508ft, to be built in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. Arguing their case at the Parliament's Petitions Committee, they warned that construction would take three years and have a "massive" impact on the communities of Kilbirnie, Dalry and Beith, Ayrshire, and Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire. ..."There are currently 10 wind farm companies progressing a possible total of 280 giant wind turbines within the park'."
report into the handling of a planning application to build Lincolnshire's biggest wind farm has been released. Planners at East Lindsey District Council made a catalogue of errors in dealing with the 20-turbine wind farm at Conisholme. It was first refused and then later approved by East Lindsey District planners in 2005.
"Wind turbines, by their scale and movement, are the most visually intrusive of all developments. "The applicant has chosen a site visible from a wide range of the most sensitive and valued locations in Northumberland, and has elected to apply for a number and scale of turbines which are inappropriate for this landscape." On the matter of MoD objections over the impact on radar at RAF Brizlee Wood, she added: "Unless the laws of physics are overturned, this development cannot go ahead and permit Brizlee Wood air defence radar to function. "Such immutable laws are not overturned.
A Government planning inspector will conduct a two-day hearing in January into a bid by PB Power to erect three 110m-high turbines next to the seaside village of Lynemouth. At the same time a separate public inquiry is being arranged to deal with an application by Scottish Power subsidiary CRE Energy for a £35m, 13-turbine wind farm nearby, on land surrounding the Alcan aluminium smelter. ... "Turbines don't bring jobs or apprenticeships, like the pits did, and will sterilise any regeneration in this area. It will all come down to the Government in the end and that looks pretty ominous, given what they did with the Cramlington opencast decision. "To be honest, it is becoming clearer and clearer that wind energy is just about telling the world how green we are. The power involved is negligible."