The wind power delusion

The common view is that whatever the problems of wind turbines, they have to be a good thing because they produce free power without creating CO2. This is the picture painted by the turbine industry, and many environmentalists desperately want to believe it. It does not stand up to scrutiny.

Banks and big business are piling in to wind power, attracted by guaranteed returns of about 20 percent for 25 years – at least £100 billion will be spent, and probably much more. Profits can be made without delivering a single watt to a light bulb or a factory machine or saving any CO2 production, because turbine owners are paid for what they produce, not what is delivered.

The power companies have been given a blank cheque by the government to charge users whatever it takes Read more

Wind turbines decision deferred

Applications for planning permission to erect three wind turbines in Withiel Parish have been deferred pending a site visit.
The issue of planning permission was to have been decided at a meeting of Cornwall Council’s East Sub-Area Planning Committee in Liskeard on the evening of January 18th. However, Lanivet councillor Mick Martin made a request for a site visit, saying that the applications posed important questions not only for Withiel but for all of Cornwall, and it was important that council members understood the topography if they were to make a proper decision. The deferral was agreed unanimously.
The site visit has been scheduled for Tuesday January 31st in the early afternoon.

Green or greed: spot the difference

Withiel can expect little help from its MP and Cornwall Council executives in its fight to preserve the parish in the face of relentless encroachment from wind turbines. Dan Rogerson MP effectively stonewalled every request for a reconsideration of the subsidies that are driving the spread of turbine towers across Cornwall, while Cornwall Council’s Adrian Lea made the case for more development while turning a deaf ear to any balancing argument.

Both men were very keen, however, to repudiate the Dingle Brothers, whose 250-foot turbine on the Bodmin bypass has been built without planning permission and in defiance of a ‘stop’ order from the Council. The Dingle Brothers are a very poor advert for the turbine lobby, and expose the underlying reality of wind turbine handouts. The Dingles can expect to make up to £400,000 a year from the turbine, equivalent to the surcharges on the electricity and gas bills of 4,000 Cornish families, while producing very little of real value and making a negligible contribution to the fight against global warming. Whether their turbine is legal or not Read more

Dan Rogerson's letter to Cornwall Council

Following our meeting early in December, Dan Rogerson MP has written to Cornwall Council about wind turbines. His letter is something of a disappointment as it does not raise most of the major issues we discussed, and there is a clear need to press these points further.

This is the text of his letter, addressed to Tom Flanagan, the (outgoing) Corporate Director for Planning, Environment and Economy:

Dear Tom,
I met with a group of residents from the Parish of Withiel at my recent advice surgery. They are concerned as to the lack of stategic planning on the location of wind turbines in their part of North Cornwall. They also have some very sensible points to make about maintenance and safety on medium and large-sized turbines.
With regard to the first point, I understand Adrian Lea will be attending a meeting of the Parish Council on the 4th January to discuss their plannig concerns.
When considering a planning application of this kind do any of the conditions relate to maintenance of the turbines, as there are concerns that poorly maintained machines might put nearby buildings at risk should there be a problem with high winds, as happened recently in Scotland? I should be grateful if you can offer me any reasssurance on the maintenance question.
With regard to strategic planning, there is concvern that applications are being dealtn with in isolation of each other and the cumulative impact is therefore not being addressed. While I appreciate that all planning applications should be dealt with in the prescribed time, should there be anything that the council can do to encourage a more community-based approach, I believe that this will go a long way towards reassuring my constituents that their views are being taken seriously.
Thank you for your advice.

Dan Rogerson

Wind turbines: our MP's stance

North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson is to contact Cornwall County Council to express his concern at the poorly-controlled spread of single wind turbines across the country. He will also raise the possibility of a moratorium on the granting of permission for such turbines until a strategy for dealing with them has been established, but does not hold out high hopes for its success.

Three members of the Withiel Wind Turbine Action Group met with Mr Rogerson in Bodmin on Friday December 16th. Also present was local county councillor Mick Martin. It was clear that while Mr Rogerson is a strong supporter of wind power, he shares our reservations on some aspects of the proliferation of wind turbines and is prepared to take action.

We had previously sent him our ‘position paper’, carried on this website under the heading ‘A fair wind’, which sets out our reservations about the cost of wind power, its concentration in Cornwall, and the detrimental effect on the landscape. In particular it expresses concern about the proliferation of single wind turbines in Withiel Parish and the fractures they open in the community.

Mr Rogerson began by saying he Read more

Turbines: the next moves

The Withiel Wind Turbine Action Group met in the Village Hall after the Parish Council meeting on Wednesday December 7th with the objective of planning tactics, notably for the meeting with Dan Rogerson MP on December 16th. Once again some 50 people attended, about one third of the population of the village. Also present were the area’s County Councillor Mick Martin and Mr Danny Mageean of the Cornwall Windfarm Action Alliance. The meeting was chaired by Simon Coy.

Patrick Malone set out the bones of the discussion document prepared for the meeting with Dan Rogerson; it had previously been circulated by email so it wasn’t necessary to go through it in detail. He added a few details of the Localism Act, which might possibly give local people more say over developments of this nature – something that was being pursued with Cornwall Council. Wind turbines need to be classed as new businesses; they are not adjuncts to farming or housing but are simply designed to profit from subsidies for wind power generation. Read more

A fair wind

One tends to come new to this debate thinking that wind power is a good thing and should be supported except where there are over-riding negatives. Not until one attempts to research the facts does it become clear that the efficacy of wind power has not been established – far from it. Binding, long-term decisions are made on the basis of partisan and self-serving statistics and predictions which are unreliable and shaded to further vested interests. Every statistic that is quoted can be countered by another statistic furnished by an equally qualified ‘expert’. All that can unequivocally be stated is that the government has a long way to go to convince people that turbine towers must overshadow all our homes in order to save the planet.

 

There is no overstating the depth of feeling in Withiel over this issue. Wednesday’s meeting, once again attended by about a third of the population of the village, coincided with the overnight construction of the Dingle Brothers turbine in Bodmin, which gives some indication of the profit to be had from Feed-In Tariffs for wind power. The turbine cost £1.3 million net of installation, money which will be paid from surcharges on our electricity and gas bills and sent straight to America, where the turbine was made. Read more

The vexed question of wind turbines

A Withiel community action group has been formed to tackle the issue of wind turbines in the parish, following a Parish Council meeting to which more than 50 members of the public came to register profound objections to new turbine developments.

Withiel cannot be said not to have ‘done its bit’ on wind power, having had one of the early wind farms, E:On’s St Breock Down development, on one of the area’s most prominent hills since 1994. But the new wave of turbines are different beasts. Attracted by generous feed-in tariffs, landowners are being encouraged to apply for one or two turbines, and many are finding it hard to resist. Read more