Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Europe
It's wild, it's out there and it matters to almost everybody, even if they hardly ever see it. Scotland's remote and untamed mountains, moors and glens have been given overwhelming backing in a major new poll for the conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Over 90% of people interviewed said they thought it important for Scotland to have wild places. Of the 1304 who were questioned, only six suggested wild land was not important. More than 60% of Scottish residents said that action was needed to protect wild areas from being damaged by modern buildings, bulldozed tracks, mobile phone masts, electricity pylons or wind turbines. About 50% thought that wild places were under threat.
With the publication of the Friends of the Earth document "Wind Power 20 Myths Blown Away", fully endorsed by Minister Jane Davidson, I was highly amused at the very clever way it has been worded - and the way it has neatly avoided giving a full and balanced picture. It is a veritable symphony in spin. ...I am surprised that Davidson's advisers let her be a party to this biased "report". If we take just one of the twenty - No 17: Wind farms harm property prices. The FoE document quotes two reports saying they don't. Well, the planning inspector who turned down the appeal by Renewable Energy Systems against the council refusal for 10 wind turbines at Rhos Garn, Llandysul, thought differently. He referred to a property owner near the site and said: "I can well imagine that if this proposal was allowed, he may well have difficulty selling his property."
Weeks after plans to locate Europe's biggest wind farm on Lewis were refused, a public inquiry opened on the island yesterday into another controversial wind farm proposal. Opponents are concerned it would set the prehistoric Callanish standing stones in an industrial landscape. ..."Over 20,000 people travelled to see the Callanish last year. The setting is as much part of the experience for visitors as the stones themselves. It is ludicrous that the government would even entertain the idea of marching turbines across such a world-class landscape."
Opposition is growing today against plans to turn one of the largest wind farms in the UK into one of the tallest. ScottishPower Renewables and Eurus Energy want to treble the output of "clean, green energy" at Llandinam in Mid Wales and to replace 103 45-metre (149ft) tall turbines with 42, 122-metre (400ft) machines. When it was opened in 1992, Llandinam was one of the largest wind farms in Europe.
An ombudsman is demanding council bosses pay to take down overhead power lines they allowed to be erected in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Tynedale Council has been accused of "maladministration" by the Local Government Ombudsman after it failed to prevent the erection of 1,600 metres of overhead power line, with 12 electricity poles, close to Ninebanks, in the Tyne Valley. The council claims it could have done nothing to stop the cables being put up but is facing a further rap for refusing to remedy the "injustice".
The company behind the controversial East Stoke wind farm has cut its number of proposed turbines by a third. Infinergy, which wanted to build six 125-metre turbines at Masters Pit, Puddletown Road, now plans just four for the site. Project bosses say this downsize is a response to residents' concerns, an explanation that has been rubbished by wind farm opponents. Dorset Against Rural Turbines (Dart) president Terry Stewart said: "The main reason we are against these proposals, and we are still very much against them, is the visual impact they will have in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Ramblers have condemned a decision by Peak District bosses to approve a wind turbine on National Trust land. The Derbyshire Ramblers' Association say the decision to allow the turbine on White Edge on the Park's eastern moors is "astonishing" and would seriously detract from the character of the landscape. Officers had recommended the application should be refused because it wouldn't fit in with the landscape - but councillors felt the demand for renewable energy was just too important. ..."It is even more astonishing that the Park's Planning Committee should vote for the application to be approved. We would describe it as a betrayal of all the National Park is intended to stand for."
The Northampton skyline could be swamped with massive wind turbines if plans to built a 417ft installation at Brackmills are given the go-ahead, an MP has warned. Supermarket giant Asda has applied to build the large turbine at its distribution centre on the Northampton industrial estate. The plans have caused upset among people living nearby and the Conservative MP for Northampton South, Brian Binley, has called for a limit on the structures during a session in the Houses of Parliament.
Developers behind a multi-million pound wind farm earmarked for rural Suffolk says he may reduce the turbines size in a bid to help allay residents' fears. Mid Suffolk Council has given the go ahead for a 70 metre high wind monitoring mast at Wyverstone, near Stowmarket, and the structure will be in place for up to a year. It was expected lead to an application for two 126 metre tall turbines in the village, at a cost of about £4 million. ..."Even when you reduce them to 100 metres they would still be five times the height of the next largest structure in the area and this in no way assuages are concerns, they would still be hugely out of scale with everything else around them."
WHOOSH, whoosh, whoosh. Or should that be whump, whump, whump? I'm trying to imagine what life might be like living next door to a wind farm. A few weeks back I put an offer in on a house with splendid views of the Borders countryside. Then I found out a planning application is under consideration for eight 100ft turbines on a hill just a mile away from the dream cottage. Oh, the irony. Having waxed lyrical about renewable energy, there's no way I can object to turbines being put up. So why can't I get the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now out of my head? The slow, repetitive whoosh of helicopters has been translated from Vietnam to rural Roxburghshire. The main cause of the 'Nam flashbacks are the articles I've read about low-frequency noise.
Campaigners scored a victory against the developers of wind turbines on Tuesday. Plans to build a 60-metre monitoring mast near Tivetshall St Mary by Enertrag UK Ltd were rejected by a South Norfolk Council planning committee. Members of the public packed the council chamber to see six of seven councillors reject the application, with one abstention. They cited visual and environmental impacts among their reasons.
An inquiry was held at the Lynemouth Resource Centre after Castle Morpeth Council's Development Services Committee rejected the bid last year. The location is in an area of least constraint for wind turbine developments but the Council believes that they are too close to homes and public places to be allowed, with the nearest structure less than 1km away in some places. Planning Services Manager Hugh Edmundson said: "The proximity of these turbines to residents means they would have an overwhelming visual impact on the settlements." ...Planning Inspector David Cullingford will compile a report to the Secretary of State recommending approval or refusal. He said he expected a decision to be made on the application in June.
Efforts to regenerate the economy of a former Northumberland coal mining stronghold will be seriously harmed if a green energy company is allowed to erect massive wind turbines in the area, it was claimed yesterday. ..."We are trying to make positive changes to people's lives in this area, which has been blighted by heavy industry for generations." Local county councillor Jim Wright said the seven turbines would be industrial "monoliths", thrust into the backyard of less privileged and disadvantaged communities. He said: "This area has borne the brunt of intrusive and dirty activities for generations for the regional and national good. Post-industrial dereliction is being addressed. However, not many people feel this scheme will generate the area socially or economically."
An appeal brought by an energy company wanting to install eight wind turbines in Lincolnshire has been dismissed. Your Energy appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after its application was deferred by West Lindsey District Council for a third time in 2007. But an independent inspector ruled the turbines would cause "significant damage" to the landscape at Laughton. Your Energy's managing director Richard Mardon said the company was undertaking a legal review of the report.
Standing a staggering 328ft high, 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. And similar structures could soon be appearing in a field near you, as ugly onshore wind farms are thrown up to meet tough new European Union "green" electricity targets. Critics say such wind farms are white elephants, claiming that they are both unreliable and inefficient. ...Despite being the traditional gateway to the Highlands and a tourist hotspot, the area near Stirling is earmarked as a site for a flurry of new turbines as the Government attempts to meet these targets.
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.