The rollout of windturbines across the UK since the Climate Change Act 2008, has been relentlessly driven at a political level. The level of subsidies for windturbines is such that it is very attractive for businesses and landowners to push proposals for them, even though they may not be in the best practical locations. Many people living near to such proposals are naturally concerned that their hitherto unspoiled local environment may now be blighted by unsightly windturbines, visual disturbance and flicker, noise, and the presence of new pylons to connect to the grid. Not to mention the possibility of the loss of property values, where an LSE study report puts this at a likely 11%. Real life individual cases can be as high as 20%. Independent tribunals have confirmed this:
“In 2008 a Valuation Tribunal ruled that a wind farm 930m from a home near Spalding had reduced the value of the house and that it should be changed from band B to A. The tribunal commented that “Case law and experience elsewhere had shown that dwellings which were located in close proximity to wind farms had seen their property prices drop by around 20%“ ”
It appears that the government and DECC are sensitive enough about the property value impact to delay a report on it. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/10260729/Secret-wind-farm-report-into-house-price-blight.html
People affected by windturbine farms sometimes see themselves as victims. http://www.windfarmvictims.org.uk/
Across the UK there is much activity.
In East Anglia there are numerous such proposals.
Suffolk Opposition to Windfarms and Solar
The number and scale of the applications to install wind and solar in Suffolk has been increasing. The response to this has been varied, with specific campaign websites such as CATT, in Clare.
There have also been campaigns conducted in the local press and media, sometimes with well known personalities, as the recent campaign against a solar park in a sensitive location.
This website shows how the solar farm would have affected a AONB area. http://www.noaltonwatersolar.net/mapsandpictures.htm
Stop Ipswich Turbines
This is an action group formed by local residents in July 2012 to inform residents of Belstead, Wherstead, Pinewood, Thorington Park, and Stoke Park, of the plans by Partnership for Renewables to build a 130 metre wind turbine at Pannington Farm, just to the south of Ipswich, in the field adjacent to the railway line. http://www.stopipswichturbines.com/
This has been featured widely in the press. http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/poll_fury_erupts_over_wind_turbine_proposals_for_ipswich_1_1538098
The location of the proposed windturbine can be found here. http://www.pfr.co.uk/thoringtonbarn/3272/About-the-Project/3279/Location/
Further, Dec. 2013: Partnership for Renewables, PfR, had planned to build two wind turbines on land to the South West of Ipswich, initially on Ipswich Borough Council owned land, but major opposition led by Stop Ipswich Turbines ensured that the scheme was altered, with just one turbine now proposed for land owned by the Aldous trust, one of whose beneficiaries is Conservative MP for Waveny, Peter Aldous, whose constituency includes Kessingland.
In June 2011, on a site at Kessingland (pop:9322) Suffolk, an area of outstanding natural beauty with water meadows of the Latymare dam through which runs the Hundred river runs, two 125 metre wind turbines were erected which dominate the landscape. http://www.turnthemoff.co.uk/
The campaign listed concerns over a number of issues:
- sleep and noise disturbance
- shadow flicker
- visual impact
- environmental impact
- devaluation of property and loss of rental income
- animals and livestock effect
Further afield there is international opposition. http://www.epaw.org/events.php?lang=en&article=uk14
Politics are the inevitable root cause of the problem, stemming mainly from the Climate Change Act 2008, which specified a misguided preference for expensive and intermittent renewable power sources over reliable and cheap conventional power. However, political interest also goes back further than that, with many in the political arena having strong associations with ‘green’ energy over decades.
The local MP is Conservative Tim Yeo. He is an avid supporter of renewables and until recently he was chairman of the cross-party Energy and Climate Change Commons Select Committee. He was suspended from the committee over allegations of conflict of interest over his association with the renewables industry, who could be strongly affected by the deliberations of the committee. Tim Yeo is also president of the industry based Renewable Energy Association.
Given the entrenched position of the MP and the avowed policy of his party to be the ‘greenest’ ever, there would seem to be an insurmountable barrier. However, many local Conservatives and their LibDem cohorts see windturbines as despoilers of the landscape, and although nominally following the party line are strongly opposed to them. The Labour energy secretary at the time of the CC Act was Ed Miliband, and he is unlikely to admit that this was a mistake, or that the large increases in energy costs as a result of the Act are down to his policies.
Green tax on electricity currently amounts to 11%, and in 2020 this will have risen to 33%, with 41% in green tax by 2030, according to DECC.
The only party with a policy of reversing the Act and reducing the costs of energy is UKIP.
- Number of planned new onshore wind farms has doubled since 2011. (telegraph.co.uk)
- Windfarm campaigners claim partial victory (ipswichspy.wordpress.com)
- Yorkshire Dales wind farm first in Britain to be torn down (dailymail.co.uk)
- Before and After – back to normal (cornwallwindwatch.wordpress.com)