Government to continue subsidising remote windfarms which is bad news for birds

Andrew Montford writing on The Spectator website points out that the government’s policy to continue subsidies to new onshore windfarms on remote islands e.g.the Hebrides is likely to have the most affect on sensitive bird species as detailed in a report by the RSPB in 2006.

 

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/06/remote-windfarms-are-bad-news-for-birds/

Kirkby Moor Appeal

Message from STARC
As many will now be aware, RWE/Innogy/Ventient  have decided to lodge an Appeal against the refusal decision to extend the life of the present wind farm.  The Appeal Reference number.   APP/M0933/W/18/3204360

 

This does not come as a shock for it gives them many more months of subsidies!!  They left it to the eleventh hour to submit the appeal, with only 20 days to the date when the turbines should all have been down.

 

They have submitted an appeal (07/08/2018) and have requested a Public Inquiry.  This is the most formal and adversarial of three options.  Their reasoning is that they feel that they have a strong case as the final vote was 6/5 to refuse the planning application.. Also, that the planning committee members did not heed the advice of the Planning Officer, who recommended that the application be granted!

 

‘Ventient Energy chief executive Scott Mackenzie said: “We were disappointed with South Lakeland District Council’s decision to go against the planning officer’s recommendation by narrowly voting to turn down our application to support the continued running of the existing Kirkby Moor wind farm for a few more years.

“We have decided to appeal the decision based on the many economic, social and environmental benefits the wind farm delivers to the local community and beyond.’

They seem to have overlooked the huge volume of local opposition and statutory organisations who strongly objected and the 13 Parish Councils, (representing thousands of local people) who likewise objected strongly.
These are early days and I have been advised, by the planning officer, that this could take 6-12 months to develop, but it is important that we are all aware of the situation and prepared.

 

This will be new to many of us and that is probably what the developers are relying on.  They have the resources and the legal eagles but we must not be intimidated by this.  We have battled against this twice and won….we can do it again.  Public/Local feeling is paramount in this and once again, if we all stand together and put in the commitment..we can do it again.

The importance of determining a UK policy for the decommissioning and restoration of onshore wind farms

To The Editor, Sunday Telegraph
It is with great interest that I read your headline article on Sunday 26th May “Gove plans new wave of national parks”. I whole heartedly support this initiative and welcome it with open arms being a passionate believer in open spaces and protection of our countryside for the enjoyment of all. I am also very aware that a lot of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are surrounded by onshore wind farms. As we all know, onshore wind farms have a limited life time and massively detract from the beauty and enjoyment of the countryside. It is also a known fact that offshore wind farms are significantly more efficient than onshore and we in the UK proudly support the world’s largest offshore wind farm, situated just off the Cumbrian coast. It is essential that end of life onshore wind farms are properly decommissioned and the land restored, so that the countryside can be protected and enjoyed by all, especially if National Parks are to be subject to a boundary review and AONB’s may be expanded and designated as National Parks. It is therefore extremely disappointing to note that we in the UK have no Onshore Wind Farm Decommissioning and Land Restoration Policy, we are entirely reliant upon the good will of the wind farm developer to decommission the onshore wind farm and restore our countryside to what it was before the onshore wind farm was built. Unfortunately, this presents the developer with a conflict of interest as many of the developers profit from the wind farms and decommissioning and restoration cost money. The nearest publication I have found which forms a basis for decommissioning and restoration is Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 591 “Research and guidance on restoration and decommissioning of onshore wind farms”. I therefore urge the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to determine UK policy for the decommissioning and restoration of onshore wind farms as part of his wide ranging environmental reforms.
Yours faithfully
Rebecca Thomas Broughton Beck Cumbria

Request for Help from Dumfries and Galloway

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 Local Plan Part 2 (Site Allocations)

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.

Enercon admit liability for noise nuisance from Wind Farm in case before Irish High Court

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.

For more on this story see Irish Farmers Journal Jan 17 and Wind Aware

North West Coast Connections Project

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:

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Powell 

National Grid

Project Manager – North West Coast Connections 

Newsletter

NG-NWCC_Newsletter_A1_Sheet_Portrait_2016_V13_FINAL.pdf

Map of proposal

NG-NWCC_Newsletter_A1_Sheet_Portrait_2016_V13_FINAL.pdf

 

End of Story – For the Time Being!

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:

https://acp.planningportal.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=2224912

https://acp.planningportal.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?CaseID=3133846

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:

https://acp.planningportal.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=2220065

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:

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=144559

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.

Post Easter Update March 30th 2016

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 Begins to Draw to a Close

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:

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?Caseid=2227711&CoID=0

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:

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=135861

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:

http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=136160

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

forcecumbria.org