CPRE and wind farms

I was glad to see in today’s Sunday Times, that CPRE ( The Campaign to Protect Rural England) is taking a much stronger line regarding the siting of wind farms.  As a member of this organisation I was beginning to wonder if I should be supporting them.  According the the article, CPRE a strong supporter of wind and renewable energy have finally and not before time warned that the planning system is failing to take into account of the growing concern over onshore wind development.

The report out tomorrow from CPRE, says that “Research suggests that wind energy developers often enter the planning process with a dismissive mindset towards public concerns, seeking to disparage arguments against new developments as baseless and emotional rather than well reasoned and legitimate.”

It says that a large number of applications for wind farms in some areas is having adverse cumulative impacts without any evidence of what scale of development can be reasonably be accommodated in the landscape.

While the CPRE, is not opposed to wind farms altogether(and I would say that they could be sited in certain industrial zones away from housing). Its key point is that the government’s failure to develop a local and national strategy for locating them properly has created a  free for all with developers choosing sites without the need to consider the impact on landscapes and community.

I trust that CPRE stick to their guns on this one – if they do so, I will continue to support them as an organisation.  Perhaps the tide is finally turning on this important issue.

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8 Responses to CPRE and wind farms

  1. A nicely balanced view Mark, on a controversial topic.

    Like you I believe that the sensible use of wind power is a solution to some of our energy requirements, but I am sometimes appalled by the lack of consideration in the locating of some wind schemes.

    • Thanks Paul, but apart from the odd comment, really most of the post was from the article in the Sunday Times. I am with you, there seems to be an unreasonable lack of consideration to the landscape and communities in the granting of these schemes.

  2. mentalist3d says:

    I liked your post, but to suggest that industrial zones might be more appropriate is wrong. Where, I’m from there is roughly a 2-3km stretch of open countryside which then ends next to a petrol chemical ‘cracker’ plant. This emits pollution and particularly Benzene which is a carcinogen .

    About halfway between this plant and the town, they are building 9 x 413ft turbines, the closest turbine to the town is 1.3km. SEPA raised concern that the turbulence from the turbine blades would cause a higher local concentration of Benezene and other pollutants to be distributed more locally.

    A report (Interaction of an Eulerian Flue Gas Plume with Wind Turbines) was produced by the University of Glasgow which concluded:

    “The impingement of the plume on the wind turbine is shown to disrupt the wake structure downwind of the wind turbine….results in an increase in the concentration of plume material (which may include pollutant gas and particulates) around the wind turbine……environmental protection agencies are justified in their concerns regarding the placement of wind turbines near to industrial plants……interaction between wind turbines and gas plumes should be investigated further in order to quantify clearly the risks associated with future strategies regarding the use of land near to industrial sites”

    Ref: fifewindfarms.org.uk/wp-content/files/TMFLETCHERASME2010.pdf

    One local councillor stated that ‘it was an acceptable risk’. I personally don’t think industrial turbines should be sited anywhere, to many negatives outweigh the minuscule benefits.

    • James, thanks for your comments and welcome to my blog. I can see that this could be a significant issue. You raise a good point which I had not considered, but I guess there will be plenty of industrial areas in the UK where emissions are not an issue.

      My own views is that wind turbines can help in the overall energy mix, but should be sited in areas where there is already industrialisation and since factories/business parks sited away from housing use a lot of energy this may help. Another use could be off grid use, where it is not practical or economic to run mains up to a farm or dwelling as long as it is sited with due consideration for the local landscape. However, I am a firm believer that the majority of the vast sums being spent on turbines should be diverted to subsidiaries on insulation and energy conservation for both housing and industry rather than these schemes. Reading an article in the Times recently, it suggests that the UK Government is looking into this. They should be speed up the process and get on with it.

      • Jules says:

        I quite agree with this point of view, Mark.

        I don’t like turbines and am very worried about the seemingly indescriminate way they are being plastered across valuable and irreplacable countryside. However, I accept they can play a small part in the overall energy mix we need.

        What I do think, though, is that we have reached the saturation point for any beneficial contribution from onshore wind farms, and that we desperately need to divert the money given to the wind energy companies that cannot ever make more than a minor contribution into research projects into other forms of supply and -crucially – ways of reducing waste and demand, so we can head off the energy crisis we are at the moment plunging headlong into!

        I have always considered myself an environmentalist, and am a supporter of recycling, low energy use, low impact, non-polluting green energies, local shopping, low food miles, preserving green spaces, etc, etc, but I just don’t think wind energy in it’s current guise adds up!

      • Jules,sound commentary there. What seems very odd to me is the stance of the green organisations such as FOE who seem very pro wind farms,and in supporting on shore wind farms support developments in beautiful countryside by default – unless they are like me and see the potential in limited industrial developments, which I don’t think is the case.
        It is completely at odds to what I think the founder fathers of these organisations believed in. The chap who started FOE in the US, broke away from the Sierra Club, an organisation founded by the great John Muir who was a dedicated naturalist & conservationist- so the ideals of unspoilt wild places I guess would be a core belief of its membership. This is a million miles away from the development of wind turbines in our hills and wild places. Interestingly a similar theme was explored in a programme on the radio I listened to one evening awhile back on a long drive. This discussed that membership of Green organisations has become increasingly urbanised and that link with the countryside is being lost. I cannot say whether this is reality or not but may explain the stance.

  3. Gareth L says:

    Living near Manchester I can see a wind farm they have put up on the Pennines. I think they look horrible, they just spoil the landscape and the ones I am talking about they are 5-10 miles in the distance. I really can’t see how they are green when we destroy the remaining green space we have. I realise that we need different energy sources but think that more thought needs to go in to the placement and design of the turbines. Putting them in industrial areas is a good idea as far as I am concerned.

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