Posted by: dorsetcpre | March 1, 2011

Industrial Wind Turbines

Wind TurbinesThe battle to protect our beautiful Dorset countryside from the impact of ugly, visually intrusive industrial wind turbines has been mixed over the last few months. The good news is that Ecotricity’s 2nd Application for a windfarm at Silton near Gillingham was unanimously rejected again by the North Dorset Planning Committee. The large number of objectors attending and the unanimous objection speeches (apart from the developer) showed the really strong public antipathy to the Application. The proposal was rejected on the basis of noise impact, the visual intrusion into the countryside and the nearby AONB, and the visual impact on nearby listed buildings. A warm tribute to Chris Langham and his SOS Action Group for their marvellously professional campaign and presentations to the Planning Meeting.

The status on the East Stoke, near Wool, windfarm application was not so rosy. At the Purbeck Planning Meeting before Christmas there was a ‘Green’ invasion of turbine supporters, many from outside Purbeck with arguments that were not valid planning reasons. But their claims for Renewable Energy and carbon reduction swayed a number of the Councillors. The members of the DART (Dorset Against Rural Turbines) committee presented a number of solid, factual reasons why the turbines should be rejected – supporting the strong recommendation from the Planning Officer for rejection. But the Councillors decided that they were “minded to approve the application” as long as the serious problems of the noise impacts on the Scout Camp in the next field, and the visual impact on the Purbeck AONB could be overcome. CPRE submitted a strong report from our Noise Consultants and a medical report that turbine noise can damage human health. On the continent and in Scotland the legal recommendation is that turbines should not be erected within 2,000 metres of the nearest house – yet the turbines would be about 250 metres from tents in the year-round camping field. Tent walls provide no protection from noise.

TurbineThe Council published draft Planning Conditions, and it was up to us to prove that these are ineffective and unenforceable in protecting the Scout’s health, and the impact on the AONB. At the final Planning Committee decision on March 31 the application was rejected, to our delight, but will be subject to appeal which means we cannot relax our guard.

To show that CPRE is not against ALL turbines, we have not objected to an application for a single turbine on the Briantspuddle/ Bere Regis parish border. This is in the woods and is not so visibly intrusive. However there has been an application for 2 turbines 35 metres tall at Corscombe, to which the West Dorset Group has objected. Kendrick Harding is leading this fight.

As mentioned in a previous issue, there is an application from Eneco, a Company owned by 61 Dutch Local Authorities, to build an offshore Windfarm between the Isle of Wight and Portland Bill. They are proposing up to 300 turbines covering 30% of the 720 square kilometre site owned by the Crown Estate. There would be about 1 kilometre between turbines. Leisure craft and fishing boats could go between, but the Poole to Cherbourg ferry would have to detour round the outside. The turbines would be about 210 metres high. Construction to start in 2016, completed by 2018. Turbine life 25 years. Dorset CPRE are not formally objecting to the application since our remit is just to protect the Dorset countryside, and the developers have promised to bring the electricity ashore by underground cables – not tall pylons. I should add that this windfarm is only being built because of massive subsidies paid for by YOU. All households will have to pay an average £40 a year in their electricity bills – another stealth tax. The turbines will only produce about 25% of their capacity, and because wind is intermittent there always has to be a fossil fuel or nuclear power station back up if the wind fails.

Terry Stewart.

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