Cumbria Windwatch has received the following from Scotland Against Spin
Dear Supporter and friends of SAS,
Our friends at TW312 have sent us a request for help now that Banks Renewables have finally submitted further environmental information about the Knockendurrick wind development in Dumfries and Galloway.There is now a window of just under 4 weeks to submit objections to this proposal and TW312 are asking that as many of us as possible send one in.
They have provided information and a template objection, attached to this email, so if you have 5 minutes to spare, please send it in as soon as you can.
With many thanks,
The SAS team
Objection template Knockendurrick
For more information go to Say No to Knockendurrick
Allerdale Borough Council has now started the consultation on Part 2 of the Local Plan. This part of the plan addresses which sites will be designated for development or specific uses and what type of development or use can take place.
In Part 1 of the Local Plan, it was concluded that it would not be fair on local residents to specify areas that could be used for wind energy development, a decision that was widely welcomed. Since the Plan was approved, there has been a written Ministerial Statement on wind energy which has now been included in National Planning Guidance. Part of the statement relates to the identification of suitable areas for wind energy development and it appears that, if Part 2 of the plan is to be approved, there is little choice other than to designate some areas for development.
Allerdale’s Planning Policy Officers have concluded that the fairest way to do this is to designate the whole of the Borough, except the parts of the National Park that are within Allerdale, as suitable. There would also be restrictions on the type of development that could take place in the Solway Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In many ways this does not really alter the current situation since, in the absence of specific designated areas within the Borough, the option is already there for developers to apply anywhere in Allerdale. Planning Policy Officers have stressed that the safeguards introduced in Part 1 of the Plan would absolutely still apply to any application that might be lodged, including the recommended 800m separation distance between wind turbines over 25m in height and residential properties.
In view of the fact that the Council apparently has no choice but to comply with the Planning Guidance, the approach that has been taken – i.e. to designate the whole of the Borough with the exception of the National Park – does appear to be the best option because it is in fact the only option that does not discriminate against individual communities and properties.
The consultation is a huge document because of the large number of maps it contains but the following link will take you to a page which explains how it is laid out. This does make it somewhat easier to navigate:
http://www.allerdale.gov.uk/ planning-and-buildings/ planning/planning-policy/site- allocations/preferred-options- consultation.aspx
All of the documents which are part of the consultation, including the Wind Energy Technical Document, can be accessed from the same page. There are also instructions on how to respond to the consultation and a list drop-in sessions when planning officers will be available to answer questions. The consultation documents can also be viewed in hard copy at various locations.
Should you wish to make a comment on wind energy, or indeed on any other aspect of the draft plan, the consultation period will remain open until Friday 24th March.
The Irish High Court will decide damages to be paid to a group of families in Cork after Enercon Wind Farm Services Ireland Ltd admitted laibility for noise nuisance. The decision will be made in April of this year. There is a possibility that if it becomes known that wind companies will admit liability for noise nuisance without contesting it more people around the world may be encouraged to bring their grievances to court.
From the National Grid:
National Grid is developing the North West Coast Connections Project (NWCC) to connect and export the electricity that will be generated by Moorside, the proposed new nuclear power station that will be built near Sellafield in West Cumbria.
We are formally consulting on these proposals for ten weeks, from 28 October 2016 to 6 January 2017 and are holding 30 consultation events up and down our route. This consultation will provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide their views and comments on our proposed connection. Information about the project and what we’re consulting on is also available our website www.northwestcoastconnections.com.
We want to make as many people as possible aware of our consultation and encourage them to take part and provide us with their views. We have therefore been working with representatives from local authorities across Cumbria and Lancashire to identify groups and organisations with whom we would like to engage directly to ensure as wide an audience as possible is aware of the consultation.
I am therefore writing to you to provide you with a copy of our project newsletter. This provides an overview of the project, details of the proposed connection and information about the events we’re holding. It also provides details on how people can take part in and respond to the consultation.
Recognising that this is a complex project, with a lot of technical information, in addition to this newsletter we have produced a suite of consultation materials to help explain the potential effects of the project and how to provide feedback. These will be available online from 28 October, however if you would like any hard copies of our Project Information Booklet, Map Booklet or Feedback Form for display or distribution, including large text or alternative versions, please contact us via the details below.
In the meantime I would be grateful if you might support us in encouraging people within your network to register their details with us on the NWCC website www.northwestcoastconnections.com. This will enable us to provide them with updates and news about the project. It will also provide them with the opportunity to respond to the consultation online if they wish.
If you would like to discuss any of the information above, please contact the Project team by:
- Freephone: 0800 876 6990
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Freepost: Freepost NG NWCC
Project Manager – North West Coast Connections
Map of proposal
The final wind energy related appeal decisions for the Allerdale area have now been received.
Unfortunately, we must report that the wind turbines at Black Brow and Blooming Heather have both been allowed by the Inspectorate. These decisions can be viewed via the following links:
However, the proposed wind turbine at Grange Grassings which would have compounded the cumulative impact already experienced by local residents, with the combined effect of Tallentire Wind Farm and other wind energy developments, has been dismissed:
The Inspector concluded that the concerns of local residents had not been fully addressed and therefore that the proposed development did not comply with last year’s Written Ministerial Statement which confirmed that permission should not be granted where this is the case.
There are no further wind energy appeals pending in the Allerdale area.
Allerdale Borough Council’s planning committee has one further application to decide. This will be presented to the Council’s Development Panel on Tuesday 26th July at 1pm. It is, however, a proposal to change the model of turbine at a site where planning permission has already been granted. In the long history of this particular case, the applicant has now changed the model of turbine twice. Details can be viewed via the following link:
With the Written Ministerial Statement and recent changes to the subsidies system, the threat of our countryside being invaded by armies of wind turbines seems to have receded for the time being.
Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment are not going away but we are not planning any further newsletter for the time being. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our members who have supported us over the many years that we have battled against this awful problem which at times seemed insurmountable in the face of pro wind propaganda.
Please do not delete our contact details. We are still there to help if the situation takes a turn for the worse in future.
There have been no fresh applications for wind turbines submitted to Allerdale Borough Council so far this year. The reasons for this are likely to be as follows:
1. A stronger Local Plan with better protection for landscape and residents against inappropriate renewable energy development
2. Last year’s Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) which confirmed that wind energy developments should not go ahead when local concerns have not been addressed and there is therefore little or no local support
3. Changes to the subsidies system.
With regard to point one, developers in the bad old days of 2012 – 2014, would often admit that they targeted local authorities where the Local Plan lacked the specific details which are necessary to maintain wind energy at an acceptable and appropriate level in landscape and residential terms. The absence of these developers so far in 2016 provides some level of assurance that the planning gaps have been plugged.
As recently as last October, at least one developer tried to claim that the WMS carried no weight. However, the fact that Planning Inspectors are making use of it as a reason to dismiss appeals demonstrates that this is clearly not the case.
There have been a number of encouraging appeal results in recent months. They include:
• A proposal to erect three to four wind turbines on Lillyhall Landfill Site. Cumbria County Council was the determining authority in this case although the site lies within Allerdale. The appeal was dismissed by the Planning Inspector mainly on the grounds of the substantial cumulative impact that the scheme would have alongside the considerable number of existing and approved wind turbines in the area. The appeal had been ‘recovered’ by the Secretary of State who agreed with and endorsed the Inspector’s conclusions.
• A proposal to erect a 45m wind turbine at Waverbank close to Mealsgate and Fletchertown. This appeal was dismissed by the Inspector who found that the development would conflict with the provisions of the WMS as the numerous concerns raised by local residents had not been fully addressed.
• A proposal to erect a 67m wind turbine at Dundraw Farm near Kelsick. Many objectors turned out to greet the Inspector McCoy for his site visit which must surely have left him in no doubt that that the proposal did not have the support of the local community. The WMS was therefore applied and the appeal was also dismissed as in conflict with National Planning Policy Framework and the Local Development Plan.
• A proposal to erect a 79.6m wind turbine at Threapland Lees. This appeal was dismissed on the grounds of harm to landscape character with a significant cumulative impact, which the appellant had judged to be ‘negligible.’
• A proposal to erect a 35m wind turbine at Carrick Dene, Edderside, near Maryport. This too was dismissed due to the considerable harm which would be caused to the local landscape and conflict with Local Development Plan policies and with National Planning Policy Framework guidance.
Another interesting appeal that we have been monitoring lately involved a 76 acre solar park proposed on land adjacent to the existing wind farm at Wharrels Hill, Bothel. Despite large scale opposition from local residents and objections from Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Tourism and also the Lake District National Park Authority, Allerdale’s planning officers saw fit to recommend approval for the scheme. Fortunately, councillors on the Planning Committee disagreed and voted to refuse this clearly inappropriate development proposal.
When it was determined that the subsequent appeal would be conducted via written representations rather than a Public Inquiry, many considered this to be inadequate given the contentious circumstances. Local residents nevertheless did a fantastic job submitting a comprehensive and detailed case to the Inspectorate.
The decision to proceed via written representations was then reversed in favour of a Public Inquiry and the appellants withdrew their case at that point.
Our hearty congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to avert what would have surely been a planning disaster!
A number of appeal results are still awaited including a proposal for a large single turbine near Wiggonby and also at Grange Grassings, which is in close proximity to Tallentire Wind Farm. Both of these have been ‘recovered’ and so the results will not be made public until the Secretary of State has reviewed the Inspector’s decision. It is impossible to predict how long the process will take but we will update this blog as soon as there is any news.
As the year draws to a close, it is time to review recent events which have made a significant difference to our struggle against inappropriately sited renewable energy developments.
As discussed in our previous newsletter, there have been important changes to national government policy and to published planning guidance.
The requirement for community support for onshore wind energy appears to have reduced the number of new applications received locally, at least for the time being. For further details of the new guidance, please refer to our website or revisit our August newsletter.
The effect of the new national guidance at planning appeal level is demonstrated by the following decision in which an Inspector resolved to dismiss using the June 18th Written Ministerial Statement without even examining other aspects of the case! It is the shortest appeal decision we have come across. It can be viewed via the link on the following page from the Inspectorate’s website:
Unfortunately, the Government’s plan to cut subsidies for onshore wind appears be faring less well politically. We will have to wait and see what happens to these proposals.
On the local front, Eden District Council has agreed the final draft of its Local Plan which will now be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for public examination. In respect of wind energy, the draft plan ‘expects’ a minimum separation distance of 800m between turbines over 25m in height and residential properties. This wording is exactly the same as used in the Allerdale Local Plan and, if approved, it will bring the two councils in line with each other.
In Allerdale, the new national planning guidance featured prominently at a meeting of the Council’s Development Panel held on Tuesday 20th October. From a total of four wind turbine applications, three were refused in line with the planning officer’s recommendation. The fourth was an application to erect a different model of turbine on a site where planning permission for a smaller turbine had already been granted. No actual decision has been made on this application yet because a member of the public has asked for it to be called in by the Secretary of State.
A number of applications in Allerdale have been withdrawn recently, including the grotesque proposal to erect three wind turbines in close proximity to the existing wind farm at Westnewton. Even the operators of the wind farm objected to that one, fearing that the new turbines would steal their wind!
Sighs of relief from the beleaguered residents of Westnewton were cut short by the emergence of a fresh application to install a second solar ‘farm’ near their village. Westnewton is already home to a 32 hectare photovoltaic park in addition to the existing wind farm. There must surely come a point when a community’s responsibility to contribute to renewable energy targets must reasonably be considered to have been discharged. For this reason, we are taking this opportunity to ask for objections to the latest proposal which can be viewed via the following link:
Our members have also asked for help in opposing an application submitted for a 74m wind turbine at Roundhill Farm, Welton. This application is almost identical to one which was submitted earlier this year and withdrawn on the advice of Allerdale Borough Council. On the first occasion, the applicant’s agents managed to rally support from far and wide with comments arriving from North Yorkshire, Longtown, and also from the contractors who would have carried out the work. Given the requirement for community support which is the backbone of the new national planning guidance, it is important that we muster as many objections as possible. The application can be viewed via the following link:
On balance, we are relatively optimistic about the future but will, of course, remain on guard for signs of a renewed ‘gold rush,’ as experienced in the recent past. Please take a moment to visit our website at
We have deliberately postponed sending a newsletter while announcements from the new Government about future wind and solar energy proposals have been coming in thick and fast. However, now that things seem to have settled down a bit, the time has come to review the situation.
It does appear that the new Government has gone some way towards honouring its pre-election promises. Revisions to National Planning Guidance have been published, building upon the changes which first appeared in 2013/14.
This time it has been made very clear that permission should not be given for single or multiple turbines where the proposal does not have the support of the local community. The Right Honourable Greg Clark, Minister for Communities and Local Government, announced in a written statement to the House of Commons on 18th June that, with immediate effect,
‘local people have the final say on wind farm applications, fulfilling the commitment made in the Conservative election manifesto.’
The Minister went on to say that, when determining applications for one or more wind turbines, Local Planning Authorities should only give permission when,
‘following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.’
The Planning Guidance itself can be viewed by following the link below. Please refer to section entitled: Do local people have the final say on wind farm applications?
This change took effect on 18th June and, as part of National Planning Practice Guidance, it is a material planning consideration in most applications for wind turbines from then onwards.
In addition to the newly published Planning Guidance, the Right Honourable Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has recently announced that subsidies for onshore wind energy development will be brought to an early close and that only projects which already have planning consent and an agreed grid connection will benefit from an intervening ‘grace period.’ The reason for this action is that there are now sufficient onshore wind projects, including projects that have planning permission, to meet the targets that the Government has set itself.
The full announcement can be found via following link:
Similar measures are likely to be taken with regard to solar farms. We learned from Amber Rudd’s recent announcement that the Government will be consulting on plans that would see subsidies for some new solar farms close by 2016. Under the Government’s plans, so called “small scale” solar farms will no longer qualify for support from April next year. Small scale solar farms are usually regarded as covering up to 25 acres. Further details are available via the following link:
Congratulations to objectors at Bothel who mounted a sterling campaign against a 73 acre solar park which had been proposed on land adjacent to the existing wind farm at Wharrels Hill. Despite very powerful objections from Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Tourism and the Lake District National Park Authority, this application was recommended to be approved by Allerdale’s planning officers. However, the councillors on the development panel were persuaded to refuse planning permission by the convincing arguments presented by objectors.
The changes already implemented and planned by the Government in respect of subsidy changes for wind farms and solar parks are to be celebrated. They are likely to result in some lowering of the cost of consumer energy bills.
Naturally, the developers are not at all happy with the situation. If they really believe that smothering the countryside with solar panels and turbines is the right way forward, they do of course still have the option to look for funding from sources other than the already overstretched tax payers and consumers who have been footing the cost of renewable energy subsidies for many years.
From the point of view of those of us who have opposed inappropriate wind energy development, the changes underline how important it is for local communities to make their views known and to engage with the planning system. We cannot claim that a community has not given its backing to a wind turbine or solar application where there have not been plenty of objections from local residents.
As always, Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment are happy to lend a hand with helping to gather material for objections and to advise on planning matters etc. We are currently working on a new approach to our own objection writing and would like to invite more participation from our wider membership. If you would like to assist us and be more involved in our campaign against renewable energy development which is inappropriately and/or insensitively sited, we would really like to hear from you.
It is very heartening that, in the short time since the Government’s announcements, a crop of local appeals have been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate. They include:
West House Farm, Silloth
Reathwaite Farm, near Rosley
Park House, Aikton
Appeals for single wind turbines at Ainstable in Eden and at Midtown Farm near Great Orton have also been dismissed.
In the case of the appeal for a single turbine at Waverbank, near Fletchertown, the Inspector has contacted all interested parties, for and against the proposed development, inviting further comments in light of the Government’s announcements.
So, all in all, pretty good news this time around.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to invite our members to explore the brand new FORCE website which can be accessed via the following link:
We have packed the website full of information which we hope will be of use to anyone who is fighting an inappropriate wind or solar application. Details on the site are updated regularly. We are hoping that our new web address will turn up more frequently on internet searches.
Please note that our contact email address has also changed to the one we are using to distribute this newsletter. If you have any comments or questions, we would love to hear from you.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment
Good news for all of us fighting wind turbine applications across the county and the country.
Yesterday Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced huge changes to the way wind turbine applications will be dealt with to take affect immediately. In a written statement to the House of Commons he said:
I am today setting out new considerations to be applied to proposed wind energy development so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications, fulfilling the commitment made in the Conservative election manifesto.
Subject to the transitional provision set out below, these considerations will take effect from 18 June and should be taken into account in planning decisions. I am also making a limited number of consequential changes to planning guidance.
When determining planning applications for wind energy development involving one or more wind turbines, local planning authorities should only grant planning permission if:
· the development site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy development in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan; and
· following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing.
In applying these new considerations, suitable areas for wind energy development will need to have been allocated clearly in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan. Maps showing the wind resource as favourable to wind turbines, or similar, will not be sufficient. Whether a proposal has the backing of the affected local community is a planning judgement for the local planning authority.
Where a valid planning application for a wind energy development has already been submitted to a local planning authority and the development plan does not identify suitable sites, the following transitional provision applies. In such instances, local planning authorities can find the proposal acceptable if, following consultation, they are satisfied it has addressed the planning impacts identified by affected local communities and therefore has their backing.
There have been concerns reported that the ending of subsidies might be delayed and how the timetabling of this might affect applications already in the planning system but the above announcement will affect the planning process immediately.
There was also more clarification about the ending of subsidies yesterday see:
Congratulations to all the groups across Cumbria (and the country) who have fought to make their viewpoint count and who have lobbied their MPs to make this possible.
CWW has received the following important report. It has been submitted by Douglas Cross, Environmental Adviser to SDLC in connection with the application for new turbines on Kirkby Moor. It details the effects of vibration and low frequency sound from wind farms and how these are ignored by British planning rules thereby contravening European Directives. It also points out the environmental effects and the fact that wind farms cause climate change themselves, in particular detailing the potential effect on the micro-climate of the Kirkby Moor SSI.
(the full text of the report has been published on Researchgate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4393.3609)
On-shore wind farms are controversial, especially when they are located close to people’s homes. Some people admire them as examples of modernist elegance, others hate them for their powerful intrusion into valued landscapes. Contradictory and often quite arbitrary decisions by Local Planning Authorities add to growing public concern that the situation is getting out of control, in the political determination to develop ‘alternative’ energy. But are we in fact ignoring something really important in this precipitous race to prove that we can be world-leaders in this new technology?
Planning rules dictate that Local Authorities should ignore objections to applications to build new wind farms because local private property values will fall if they are allowed to be built near to private homes. The author of this analysis, Douglas Cross, now shows that this policy is wrong, and unenforceable. He notes that a recent by the European Court makes it quite clear that if a wind farm development causes physical effects that lead to the loss of value of property, then this is an issue that must be included in the project Environmental Statements.
And that, of course, means that Planners must then consider this factor when assessing Applications. Suddenly the door has been flung wide open for claims for this new form of ‘planning blight’ that are enforceable through the Courts, since European Court decisions must be immediately respected in the national legislation of Member States.
So, do wind farms cause any such a physical effect? A common objection is that large wind turbines are noisy, and strict regulations have been adopted that limit the amount of audible noise that is permitted to reach nearby buildings. But what if this misses a crucial effect that may cause actual harm to health of at least some people living near to these machines? What if the ‘noise’ regulations are entirely inadequate and irrelevant when dealing with inaudible forms of air vibration?
The official method of measuring ‘noise’ completely fails to consider the extraordinary very low frequency pressure pulses emitted by these huge machines. The vibrations are not heard by the human ear – they are not ‘noise’ in the conventional understanding. Instead, they affect our sense of balance and orientation, and cause an effect similar to motion sickness in susceptible people. And the standard method of estimating the entire ‘noise’ problem from these machines has been strongly and repeatedly dismissed as incompetent by many of the world’s leading specialists in low-frequency acoustics. So what is the real problem, the one that our official regulations completely fails to recognise?
Low frequency pressure pulses from large wind turbines are complex and difficult to measure precisely. They penetrate buildings, even when they have good sound insulation, and at far greater distances than audible sound travels. They are actually worse inside buildings than outside them. Their peculiar and unpredictable effects of these vibrations include setting up resonance ‘hot-spots’ inside rooms, where the signals from several turbines interact.
They are indeed a real, physical effect of the turbines on property, and they really do cause harm to health. Public awareness of this effect is spreading, and homes close to new wind farms are becoming unsaleable. And this is the problem that Planners have so far failed to deal with.
This analysis, by one of the country’s most experienced Environmental Advisers, reveals how recent research has established both the existence of this problem and its medical effects on susceptible people. It shows that it is now a requirement of European environmental law that the full medical and socio-economic effects of these machines must now be considered when any new application is submitted to a Local Authority for Planning Consent.
The government’s policy of on-shore wind farm development is now wide open to challenge, on the grounds that the minimum separation distances between large wind turbines and private homes may have to be much greater than has been the case so far, and that these projects must also take care not to cause planning blight that leads to property devaluation.
But this analysis also raises a disturbing second problem, one that has so far been almost entirely ignored. The air turbulence that these large wind turbines cause down-wind of them produce very significant changes in the climate at ground level. In extreme cases, this may be locally equivalent to a century of climate change on the larger, regional or global change. This micro-climate effect may be large enough to alter the ecology at and near the ground level, both within and downwind of large wind farms. The Kirkby Moor Wind Farm project in Cumbria, dealt with in this study, is a registered and protected Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the proposal’s effects on this very sensitive area are entirely unpredictable. The analysis identifies the need for much more rigorous assessment of the local effects of such developments, to ensure that the environmental changes they cause are not contrary to the established use and value of the land on which they are sited.