A chance to stop wind farm “sabotage”?

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Local councils are to get extra funding if they give the go-ahead to new wind farms, under plans to stop local communities “sabotaging” renewable energy projects.

soon to be seen in Clifton?

Ministers are worried at the vast number of wind farm projects that are being turned down by councillors in the face of local opposition. The number of planning approvals for onshore wind farms is at an all time low, with only one in three applications getting to go-ahead. There are now 233 separate local campaign groups against wind farms. As a result ministers have agreed that local councils should be given incentives to help persuade them to approve more wind farms.

Under the plans councils will be allowed to keep the business rates generated by wind farms – which currently have to be passed to central government.

Even a small wind farm with just five turbines pays business rates of around £37,000 a year. The money would come without pre-conditions on how it is spent.

Another possibility which has been investigated would require wind farm developers to make contributions to the local economy as a condition of planning approval – either as part of the proposed community infrastructure levy or the existing section 106 rules. Such conditions already apply to some other commercial developments, such as housing developments or supermarkets, although in the case of wind farms it would be more complicated to administer and it would pass on the cost directly to the renewables industry.

A spokesman for RenewableUK, which represents the wind farm industry said they would be in favour of the business rate proposal as it would make the benefits of renewable energy obvious to local communities. Other countries, like Spain, who have mature renewable energy markets already do this.

But Michael Hird, from the Campaign Against Wind farms, said;

This is nothing short of a bribe to get local councils to agree to wind farms. They should be spending money on good green energy and not this.”

In Cumbria and the Severn Estuary areas the locals are reported to be welcoming the new proposed Nuclear schemes in favour of wind schemes previously proposed – how can that be a sensible move!

Without doubt a middle way needs to be found which can help reduce the ‘knee jerk’ reaction of the anti wind farm community. In my view Michael Hirds comment above sums up the problem, wind energy is good green energy – and until the public actually grasp that this is actually a good option we are going to keep having schemes turned down by councillors who are afraid to vote against the ‘anti wind community’.

Sadly it is only a matter of time before we start to read locally about the campaign against Nottingham Universities plan for 3 turbines in the Trent Valley near Clifton – no doubt that campaign will also base itself on scare tactics and untruths about wind farms. The University have a guide to dispel certain “well-known facts”, its worth a read.

5 thoughts on “A chance to stop wind farm “sabotage”?

    Tony Leatham said:
    April 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I love the way you casually pass off the demise of democracy, and promote an idea which disenfranchises whole communities from engaging in a democratic planning process simply because you think wind farms are a good idea.

    As someone who lives 1200 m from a wind turbine, and am very well informed about them, I can assure you that in my community, we all think they’re a bad idea. And we absolutely hate the idea that our beautiful rural village now has an industrial skyline.

    No doubt you think I’m a nimby and despise me as a consequence. However, I see nothing wrong in attempting to defend the environment and community in which I chose to live – and paid a lot of money to do so (which will no doubt raise the hackles of the jealous bunch who despise anybody with talents or skills that allow them to earn a reasonable living)

    I guarantee you will change your mind if ever a developer decides to build a turbine 560 m from your home as happened to friends of mine. You will then discover that calling somebody a nimby is arrogant in the extreme unless you have lived for some time in their shoes.

    But then again, I don’t expect you to listen. My experience is that people who express the views you do rarely have the self-confidence to be open minded

      Simon Dare responded:
      April 7, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Tony

      I am in no way suggesting we have an undemocratic approach to this – far from it. I believe we do and consequently that is why so many wind farms are not allowed.

      My concern is the disinformation that certain parties spread about wind farms and all other types of renewable power. We have an approach in this country that is all about looking after number one and not considering the common good.

      Yes I have an issue with nimby’s – its a national desease and something that does us no good as a nation.

      I do not live next to a wind farm so cannot give a personal view, but do live close to an airport and get annoyed when people move near by and then start complaing about it. It was there first!

      All I ask is that people consider both sides to the coin. I am a country boy, so I equally do not want to see the countryside ruined, but equally I am aware that change has to happen – perhaps some of the residents of the countryside now are from the cities and don’t really understand the economics of the rural areas?

      In 20 years when we are having power cuts due to a lack of power generation it will be too late to ‘allow’ the wind farms. We have to act now.

      Simon

    Tony Leatham said:
    April 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Simon

    One man’s nimby as another man’s defender of way of life. I lead a wind farm action group and must say your accusation of knee jerk reactions and misinformation are absolutely untrue. The main propagator of disinformation over this issue is Renewables UK – and you seem to be a victim of it.

    It always seems to me that people who bemoan nimbys do not occupy the same backyards as the people they “have a problem with”. What right have you, or anybody else, to tell me what I should and should not have to put up with in my locality until you face the same issue. Being near an airport, you are immune from a wind farm developer ever trying to build near you, so on this subject, to my mind, you will never have a right to call me a nimby.

    I was very amused to see your suggestion that unless we adopt wind the lights will start going out soon. I think the reason the lights will start going out soon will be over-reliance on wind energy. We need nuclear and soon.

    I still think your post promotes a removal of democracy – and I know that the localism bill will contain things you REALLY don’t like, because a voice of reason has been introduced into it that the last government with its central dictats in the form of PPS22 and PPG 8 sought to assiduously to remove.

      Simon Dare responded:
      April 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

      All I ask is an open mind – I do have one actually!

      Time will tell who is right or wrong – the issue is that we don’t have the time to find out. You may be correct in saying that Nuclear is required – at the moment it is the only way forward in the timescales available – but would you want a nuclear plant next to you…..

    Tony Leatham said:
    April 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    but would you want a nuclear plant next to you

    It may surprise you to know that if given the choice between the four turbines in the field next to my house and a nuclear power station on the same site, I would accept the nuclear option in a heartbeat.

    Reasons:

    1. Actually produces meaningful amounts of electricity – about 600 times more per square metre
    2. As the green high priest Monbiot says, they are very safe and do not blight the countryside so unnecessarily
    3. It would not produce noise that will keep we awake at night, and if they do, I would have far stronger legal protection than ETSU R 97 provides for residents close to wind turbines
    4. It would be visually less dominating, and mitigating measures (screening hedges etc.) would be provided – not possible with 400 foot tall turbines
    5. It would bring employment and economic benefit to the region
    6. It works when the wind doesn’t blow
    7. The electicity produced will be lower cost
    8. No need for expensive grid balancing technology – you’ve read the John Muir Trust paper I assume?

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