Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Europe
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the adventurer and outdoor campaigner, has launched a scathing attack on the Scottish executive’s renewable energy policy, claiming the country’s landscape is being ruined by wind turbines. Fiennes, a world-renowned explorer and mountaineer, accused ministers of creating a blight across much of rural Scotland and of putting the country’s tourism industry at risk. He said rural communities were threatened with destruction and urged Jack McConnell, the first minister, to scrap his renewables target until other methods of green energy generation are found.
It is a quiet landscape of dramatic beauty which was immortalised by one of Scotland’s most famous authors. But Dunbeath Strath, through which runs the Highland river of the title of one of Neil Gunn’s best-loved works, has become the focus of the debate on whether wind farms are a boon or a blight on the land. The area, described as one of Europe’s last true wildernesses, is an environmentally important stretch of sparsely populated bog and moorland.
Exmoor’s unspoiled landscape and fragile tourist industry could be damaged by “intrusive” wind farms, a report claims. A warning shot has been fired by the national park’s planning chief as officers consider two controversial schemes near Exmoor’s borders. One is the plan to build nine turbines, up to 110m (361ft) high, west of Hinkley Point in west Somerset, 10 miles from the park’s boundary. The other is for nine 103m (338ft) turbines at Batsworthy Cross, near South Molton in north Devon, less than five miles from Exmoor.
Yet again the Windmills of Mass Deception rear their ugly heads on the landscape of North Devon. This time npower has applied for nine of these monsters at Batsworthy Cross adjacent to Moortown service area on the Link Road between South Molton and Tiverton. Don't they have any consideration for the feelings and concerns of the vast majority of North Devonians who have repeatedly said they do not want them? For if they are approved they will stand sentinel at the gateway to North Devon; a permanent reminder of the greed of the few who are determined to desecrate the beauty of the district enjoyed by so many.
An environmental watchdog has added its voice to the opposition to plans to build nine massive wind turbines on the edge of Exmoor.The Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said it would “forcefully object” to an application by npower renewables to build the 360ft tall turbines at Batsworthy Cross between South Molton and Tiverton. Bob Barfoot, chairman of the CPRE in North Devon, said the proposal went against the organisation’s national policy for onshore wind turbines.
The Dartmoor Preservation Association applauds the two planning inspectors who have endorsed local democracy and upheld West Devon Council’s planning committee’s refusal of turbines at Yelland and now Lamerton.The deciding factor for both was the harm to the special landscapes surrounding Dartmoor National Park and the distant views to and from the high moor. Critical too for Lamerton was the quiet, still, distinctive local landscape which is the very special setting of Brent Tor Church and the scheduled barrows below it.
A pioneering study controversially overlooked by borough planners when the Moorsyde wind farm decision was made has won a prestigious national award. The Regional Windfarm Development Study, which was produced on behalf of the Assembly by White Consultants with Arup, won a highly commended award for strategic landscape planning in the Landscape Institute’s 2006 awards. The study looked at the cumulative impact multiple wind farm developments in Northumberland would have on the area’s landscape and provided a method for doing this that can now be used across the country. Moorsyde Action Group (MAG) highlighted the study in criticism of the borough council’s recommendation to approve the ten turbine wind farm between Shoresdean and Duddo.......... A MAG spokesman said: “This study not only promotes understanding of the sensitivities in different types of landscape but also brings objectivity in assessing the impact of wind farms on peoples’ lives.”
Anti-windfarm campaigners reacted jubilantly to the end of a plan to build 15 100-metre tall wind turbines on the ridge between Boxworth and Elsworth. Planning inspector Andrew Pykett, who held a three-week public inquiry into the proposal in October and November, has rejected an appeal by an energy company against refusal of planning consent for the development. Dr Pykett said the windfarm would dominate the character of an area “of quintessentially English lowland landscape in composition, scale and appearance” to the extent that much of its existing quality would be overwhelmed.
Today, Britain’s peatland habitats are at the centre of a rather different wrangle. The drive towards cleaner energy alternatives to fossil fuels, backed by government, has jump-started the wind power industry. And many of the most suitable locations for wind farms in the British Isles happen to be on peat.
When Fatima Hamioni and Gary Colclough built their dream home from scratch, they made sure its stunning view of the countryside was its main feature.But now a wind farm could be built on neighbouring land, ruining their rural outlook. The couple had been hoping to sell their home in Knighton, on the Shropshire-Staffordshire border, for £395,000 so they could move to Alsager. But the week they put the three-bedroom property on the market, they discovered Nuon Renewables was thinking of erecting nine 100m tall turbines nearby. The couple spoke out after around 120 people braved the wind and rain to attend a public meeting on the issue at Knighton Village Hall. Ms Hamioni, aged 36, said: “No-one in their right mind will want to pay £395,000 knowing there is a possibility of a wind farm. You are buying the view.
Britain’s oldest national conservation body, the Open Spaces Society, has lodged an objection to plans to build nine 360ft high wind turbines on the edge of Exmoor, which it said would be a “blot on the landscape”. The Open Spaces Society (OSS) has submitted an objection to North Devon District Council against the plan by npower renewables to build the turbines at Batsworthy Cross between South Molton and Tiverton. Kate Ashbrook, the OSS’s general secretary, said the turbines would be visible for many miles and would spoil people’s enjoyment of the area.
A plan for a wind farm on land owned by businessman Mohamed Al Fayed has been refused by Highland councillors. Almost half the council’s 80 members took the unusual step of visiting the site at Invercassley near Lairg in Sutherland. Councillors decided the 23-turbine plan was outwith the local authority’s renewable energy policy and would be visually unattractive. An appeal against the decision refusing the planning application is expected.
Richard Tamplin, the planning inspector who heard the appeal, ‘applauded’ the ‘dedication and persistence’ of Mr and Mrs Bradford and acknowledged that the urgency of meeting Devon’s renewable energy targets for 2010 weighed very heavily in favour of the proposal. However, he judged the benefits were even more heavily outweighed by the unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the distinctive local landscape around the appeal site. The adverse impact on the viewpoints of Brent Tor, which he said was ‘such an unusual and special place’, and Pork Hill, ‘would damage the special qualities of the National Park’. The size and motion of the turbines would destroy the fragile quality of this ‘quiet, still landscape’ and would be ‘wholly inappropriate’ to the setting of Brent Tor and the scheduled barrow cemetery on the crest of the Beacon just below. The ‘alien feature’ would also cause ‘significant harm to the longer views’ from the National Park and the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One of the statutory purposes of Dartmoor as a National Park would be compromised. He also considered there would be a significant adverse effect on the residential amenity of people living up to two kilometres from the site.
Residents who oppose the installation of a wind farm in Ahenny, Carrick-on-Suir, have called on the minister for the environment to protect their area against what they call “the blatant vandalism of one of the country’s most ancient landscapes.” The call comes less than a fortnight before councilliors are due to vote on the issue. The Ahenny Action Group insists that it should not be left up to local people to protect designated heritage regions from industrial development. They have written to Minister Dick Roche to demand a guarantee that no wind farm be erected in the area.
On reading the letters in the press, it amazes me to discover how many so-called Greens there are out there who are in favour of industrial wind turbines being put up over our lovely Devon landscape........Anyone who has bothered to analyse the facts and figures will realise they are not economically a viable source of energy and will do next to nothing to cut CO2 emissions. They are not environmentally friendly. They are not really green.
A farmer’s bid to build two 70 metre-high wind turbines on the western edge of Dartmoor has been dismissed, because they would form a “restless intrusion” on the landscape.Carol and Robert Bradford, of Beech Farm, Lamerton, near Tavistock, had appealed against West Devon Borough Council’s decision to throw out the plans to build the turbines, each one-and-a-half times the height of Exeter Cathedral. They claimed the development would not have a detrimental effect on the surroundings, and said the windfarm was needed to create green energy. They had proposed that the turbines, which they claimed would provide enough power for up to 1,300 homes, would be run by a community trust. Their appeal was heard by Government planning inspector Richard Tamplin in October. This week, he released a report in which he dismissed the appeal. It read: “The turbines would form a restless intrusion into this quiet and reposeful upland, to its detriment.
Objectors have won their fight against plans for a wind farm in Devon. An inspector dismissed an appeal against West Devon Borough Council’s rejection of plans for two 230ft (70.1m) high turbines at Lamerton. They were refused on the grounds it would have a significant adverse impact on the nearby Dartmoor National Park and the Tamar Valley.
Concerns about the negative impact of wind farms on Scotland's rural landscape have generally been limited to the visual intrusion of the turbines. Few observers have considered wider consequences, such as the environmental problems created by the associated demand for sand and gravel.
An area of North Devon which could be the site for England’s biggest windfarm needs protection in the same way an endangered species does, a public inquiry has heard. The claim was made on the second day of the inquiry into Exeter-based Devon Wind Power’s plans to build 22 wind turbines, each 360ft tall, at Fullabrook Down, near Ilfracombe. Planning consultant Peter Newland, speaking on behalf of the applicants, said that there were windfarms in other areas which, like North Devon, are known for their tranquility. But Tony Bohannon, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), suggested that such areas were so rare they needed protection.
A plan to create England’s biggest windfarm would spoil a beautiful area of North Devon countryside, it was claimed at an inquiry yesterday.The plan is for 22 wind turbines each 360ft tall, which Exeter-based Devon Wind Power (DWP) wants to build at Fullabrook Down near Ilfracombe. Opponents say it would have an adverse impact on the landscape including parts of the North Devon coast that have been designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Yesterday was the opening day of a public inquiry into the application.