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The Visual Issue - An Investigation into the Techniques and Methodology used in Windfarm Computer Visualisations

The_20visual_20issue_thumb This document does not question whether we should be developing windfarms or should not be developing windfarms, or even whether they look good on a landscape or are a visual intrusion on the landscape. We are simply addressing the methodology used by the windfarm industry, who in our opinion, have been using misleading methods for the last 11 years whilst seeking to obtain planning permission. Having had more than 15 years experience in producing visualisations for planning applications, both here and in other parts of the world, what we see happening throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK is a method of visual presentation which brings our profession into disrepute. After many years of fighting for fairer standards, something has to be done because of the growing public perception that photomontage is unreliable.
1 Apr 2007

Windfarm set to be rejected

Plans for a five-turbine windfarm near Allonby are set to be turned down. Energy firm Nuon Renewables wants to erect the 102-metre turbines, on land next to Brownrigg Hall Farm. The windfarm would be on the Solway coastal plain, around 1.9km inland from Allonby, and close to the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site. But local parish councils, Cumbria Tourism and the county council, as well as many local people, objected to the plans because of the potential impact on wildlife, the landscape and tourism.
30 Mar 2007

Charity concerned over Assynt turbines

Proposals for giant wind turbines in the remotest part of the Highlands have concerned the charity which helped the local community secure a £2.9million land buyout. The John Muir Trust yesterday conceded there was a "tricky" balancing act between preserving a unique environment and green energy develop- ment to aid a local economy. The organisation which donated a £50,000 lump sum to the Assynt Foundation and pledged a further £75,000 for running costs of its two estates in Sutherland, also clinched a further £550,000 of private finance to seal the 2005 buyout. But talk of erecting up to six giant turbines within view of the iconic Canisp and Suilven mountains and close to a Special Protection Area (SPA) with rare species has raised eyebrows. Director Nigel Hawkins said: "We're opposed to large-scale wind turbine developments on or near to the finest areas of wild land. "Our main concern about the proposal is the impact on the wild landscape of Assynt with the spectacular mountains, particularly Suilven."
30 Mar 2007

Wind farm approval is a ‘disaster’

Planners were yesterday accused of "sleepwalking" to disaster after approving controversial plans for a major wind-farm development in the Ochil Hills, one of Scotland's most popular hill-walking destinations. Clackmannanshire Council's planning authority, the regulatory committee, gave the go-ahead - on the casting vote of the committee chairman - for a 13-turbine wind farm at Burnfoot Hill, below Ben Cleuch, the highest point in the Ochil range. The Ramblers Association Scotland and the local environment group, Friends of the Ochils, condemned the decision and warned that the development, combined with four proposed similar schemes in neighbouring Perth and Kinross, could destroy one of the country's most precious landscapes.
29 Mar 2007

Windfarm plan blocked

Councillors have rubber-stamped their decision to block plans for a windfarm in the Eden Valley. Members of Eden Council's planning applications committee went against the recommendations of their own officers in turning down proposals for the three turbine development at Hoff Moor, near Appleby, last month. Because of that the matter had to come back before members last week so they could formally agree the reasons for refusal. They voted unanimously for a motion, which read: "By virtue of the size of the turbines and their siting on an elevated site in open countryside they would be a discordant element over a wide area.
29 Mar 2007

Planners turn down wind farm proposals

Plans for a controversial wind farm have been refused by North Cornwall District Council's planning and development committee. An application by Crimp Wind Power Ltd to erect three wind turbines, access tracks and ancillary development on land at Crimp, Morwenstow, has already gone before a site meeting after which more than 100 people attended a meeting in the community centre at Shop to air their views and ask questions. At yesterday's planning meeting district councillors were told the proposed turbines would measure 50 metres to their hub and have 3.31 metre-long blades. The site is in an area of undulating countryside between the A39 and the coast and is around 190 metres above sea level. Objectors have raised concerns about bats in the area, the noise from turbines, its impact on the area's wildlife, residents and tourism industry. They said if it was allowed it could set a precedent along the coastline. After lengthy discussions, councillors turned down the application. Mrs Val Newman said: "The area is very unspoilt. It will have a huge impact. The turbines are enormous and you would see them from a long way away."
28 Mar 2007

Two wind turbine plans rejected

Councillors have rejected plans for two wind farms in north Cornwall because they say they would ruin the landscape. Proposals for two 9m (29ft) high turbines at the Treetops Holiday Park in Week St Mary were rejected. North Cornwall District Council also threw out an application for three 81m (265ft) turbines at Morwenstow, saying they would have looked "dreadful". But applicant West Coast Energy said the need for green energy should have over-ridden objections. Spokesman Steve Salt said: "There is a need for renewable energy and there is a need for wind energy, we felt we had a good application here."
28 Mar 2007

Eastern Lammermuirs now lost to windfarms

Campaigners trying to protect the Lammermuirs were this week in shock following a decision to allow a windfarm in a national beauty spot. The approval for 16 giant turbines on the Aikengall Ridge took protestors by surprise when it was granted by East Lothian District Council last Tuesday. Widespread outrage erupted after councillors went against the recommendations of their own planners and voted in favour of the 125m turbines. There was further anger when it emerged that only five of the 12 councillors at the meeting had actually visited the site which is on a prominent ridge on the eastern edge of the Lammermuirs. Six councillors voted in favour with six against and the deadlock was broken by chairman Norman Hampshire using his casting vote in favour of the farm. East Lothian's first windfarm would, he said, be good for the "global environment".
22 Mar 2007

Planners oppose power turbine

A scheme by the National Trust to use a 42ft tall wind turbine as an alternative to installing an £11,500 mains electricity supply in the conversion of a former school is expected to be rejected. It has raised concerns about a possible clash between the need for renewable energy to tackle climate change issues and the difficulty of meeting National Park planning policies. The North York Moors National Park Authority is being recommended today to reject the change of use of the former School House in Bransdale, near Helmsley, into a community hall because of "the unsightly wind turbine".
15 Mar 2007

Mid-Devon Wind-Turbines: 'Add Insult to Injury'

‘The application for two 100-metre wind turbines and associated structures, at Cross Moor close to the Exmoor National Park(1), adds insult to injury, coming hot on the heels of another damaging application for nine turbines at nearby Batworthy Cross’. So declared Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society(2), which has submitted a strong objection to North Devon District Council, the planning authority, which is considering plans from Cross Moor Devon Light and Power Ltd. The society objected to the Batworthy Cross application last December.
9 Mar 2007

Turbine precedent has now been set

AN expert witness told the public inquiry on Wednesday that the consent already granted to the Green Knowes wind farm, five kilometres south of Auchterarder, had, to some extent, “set a precedent” for turbine development in the Ochil Hills. But landscape architect Sam Oxley added: “That does not mean that further wind farm developments is automatically acceptable. But it will, in some sense, reduce the sensitivity to further appropriate development.”
3 Mar 2007

Banff castle could sink wind plan

A castle on the outskirts of Banff will play a pivotal role in plans for a new wind turbine development. Inchdrewer Castle, which is three miles south-west of the town, stands near the site of a proposed two-turbine development at Strath of Brydock, Alvah. The possible effect of the development on the setting of the castle, which is category A listed, is causing concern to Historic Scotland and local authority planners. Historic Scotland claims the visual effect of the proposed turbines on the unoccupied castle would be “severe”.
2 Mar 2007

Anger over plan for nine turbines

Coronation Power has submitted planning applications for nine 410ft-high wind turbines overlooking Todmorden. The firm says the five machines on Todmorden Moor and four at nearby Reaps Moss will help generate clean and sustainable energy, and tackle the harmful effects of climate change. But the impact on the landscape even before they are built will also be dramatic.
19 Feb 2007

Turbines sacrifice beauty to futility

The decision that such a huge industrial installation should be allowed to dominate this unspoiled tract of Devon, against the wishes of the local council, the local MP and almost the entire community, was taken by a Government inspector, David Lavender, who, from the Government's point of view, has become an ideal choice to conduct wind turbine enquiries. There was a time when Mr Lavender was prepared to turn down such proposals, to protect valued landscapes, and even to point out that their benefits could be greatly exaggerated. But he then seems to have undergone a conversion, as he demonstrated last May when he gave the go-ahead to a single giant turbine on the unique plateau of the Mendips in Somerset. As he showed last week in Devon, he has been persuaded by the Government that our "international commitment" to produce 10 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2010 - and the "targets" imposed on each county to meet it - are all that count. Since Devon must produce 151 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, the county must have scores of wind turbines, starting with the nine 2MW monsters that will blot out the view of Dartmoor from Den Brook and North Tawton.
18 Feb 2007

Plans for wind farm rejected

APPLAUSE broke out after councillors unanimously rejected plans for a wind farm in the Eden Valley. Members of Eden District Council’s planning applications committee went against the recommendations of their own officers in turning down proposals for the three turbine development at Hoff Moor near Appleby.
16 Feb 2007

Windfarm protest

RESIDENTS opposing plans to erect three giant wind turbines on the moors above Penistone are using technology to boost their battle plans. Villagers have created a CD to show in "graphic detail" what they claim will be an unbearable blot on their landscape should the plans go ahead. Villagers who do not want three 100-metre high turbines on land at Crow Edge, formed an action group called Clowt - Crow Edge Locals Opposing Wind Turbines. They have submitted more than 300 individual letters of objection to planners and have compiled an official objection document and created the CD containing a computer-generated view of the adverse effects they claim the turbines will have on the landscape and their lives. Alan Pestell, chairman of Dunford Bridge Parish Council and a vociferous campaigner against windfarms, told The Star: "We have adopted a very high-tech business-like approach to our opposition. "We are not merely arguing from an emotional point of view, but have adopted a hard-edged business-like approach and are using the latest in modern technology to hopefully convince the planning board that a wind farm is totally unsuitable. "Instead of asking people to try to imagine what the windfarm will look like and how it will impact on lives and the local countryside - we intend to show them." Residents are being urged to attend a meeting on Monday at the Dog and Partridge on Bord Hill at 7.30pm. Banks Developments, which operates the landfill site near Hepworth Building Products at Crow Edge, says the three turbines would generate enough electricity to power 4,000 homes. Members of Barnsley Council's planning regulatory board are due to visit the site on March 6 and a decision is expected shortly afterwards.
16 Feb 2007

Landscape experience may be ruined by ‘industrial structures’

The Little Law windfarm inquiry heard from a town and country planner who also predicts turbines could take over the scenic spot, shatter the area’s “tranquillity” and dwarf the Ochil Hills. Repeating the sentiments of many in various inquires before him, David Tyldesley, an Edinburgh-based planner of 40 years experience, some of it dealing with windfarms, stated: “The experience of the landscape on the hill tops would change dramatically, from a perceived experience of tranquillity, peacefulness, remoteness and to some extent wildness, to one dominated by the presence of very tall man-made industrial structures, with their moving blades, which would be alien to the landscape.” But he added: “If permitted, a condition should be imposed to require details of the turbines to be submitted to the council for approval and the overall height of the turbines should be substantially reduced to minimise the potentially dominating effect on landform, the visual impact described and the potential effect of dwarfing the Ochil Hills.”
6 Feb 2007
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