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Proposed Wind Turbine in the parish of Maplebeck

 

There has been a revised Planning Application ammending the location of the turbine to a new site west-south-west of Maplebeck. The latest application can be found on the Newark and Sherwood District Council site .... and then paste in reference number 13/01363/FUL


If you able in any capacity, to aid the independent working group they ask that you please contact them ..http:\\www.no-tts.org. This is Group is not part of or affiliated to, the Turton Memorial Hall Committee.


Map of proposed site....Application No1

 At a Parish Meeting (Minutes) held on 17th July 2013 , the following potential planning issues were identified: 

A. Planning Application
Before a planning application can be submitted for a wind turbine the developer has to confirm with the planning authority whether the wind turbine is an “Environmental Impact Assessment” development. On the N&SDC website (31st May2013 application No. 13/SCR/00010 for 1 x500kWh turbine) it is recorded that on 1st July 2013 a planning officer decided that no Environmental Impact Assessment was required.
No formal application for the proposed wind turbine has been made yet.

B. Planning issues
1.    Impact on the landscape / loss of visual amenity: The Beck valley might not be a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, but the landscape does not get any better in Nottinghamshire. The nearest AONB is the Lincolnshire Wolds, so all the more reason to protect what exists.


The height of the proposed turbine is: tower to nacelle (hub height) 62m plus blade radius 27m = total overall height 89m.

For comparison purposes:
The Hockerton turbine is: 32.5m hub height; 14.5m blade radius; total 47m
The adjacent national grid towers (132kV double circuit PL16) are 33.3m (incorrectly stated as 66m at the consultation event)
The Parish church of St Mary Magdelene, Newark , spire is (236feet) = 72m
Lincoln Cathedral = (270 ft) ....83m
The Eakring (Stonish Hill) 5 turbines are: 60m hub height, 40m blade radius; total 100m
The Caunton turbine is: 75m hub height, 27m blade radius; total 102m.
The proposal is the same height as a 30 storey (at least) block of flats

The specifics of the impacted area are as follows:
1.1 Mather Wood (600m distant from turbine) is an SSSI. “The 8.12 hectare site comprises one of the best remaining examples of ash-oak-maple woodland in Nottinghamshire...” It is also contains diverse flora and fauna.
1.2 Dukes Wood (600m distant) is ancient woodland.
1.3 All the Beesthorpe farmland (from 800m distant) to the north of the Beck has been designated as an “Area of Mature Landscape - MLA”. This is defined in the N&SDC Local Plan adopted in March 1999. Chapter 8.0 Countryside and Natural Environment Policy NE 8 “Mature Landscape Areas” and states “Development which would have an adverse effect on the visual or nature conservation importance of a mature landscape area will be permitted only where it can be shown that there are reasons for the proposal that clearly outweigh the need to safeguard the area’s intrinsic value. Where development is permitted proposals should minimise the harm to the area. The District Council will make use of the planning conditions or negotiate planning obligations in order to secure appropriate conservation measures”. (See www.cartoplus.co.uk/newark_sherwood)
An application (06/01769/TEM) to erect a low level poly tunnel in the neighbouring plant nursery (200m distant) was refused permission in 2007 due to its close proximity to this area of mature landscape (“contrary to policy NE4. The polytunnel is of a design and is sited such that it would be intrusive within the surrounding landscape”).
1.4 In March 2011 N&SDC adopted the Core Strategy and the Local Plan policy NE 8 was replaced by the Core Strategy.13 Landscape Character, for the purpose of informing planning decisions. Maplebeck and surrounding area (Land cover parcels MN49) is within one of five areas “The Mid-Nottinghamshire Farmlands”. MN49 landscape condition is described as “very good”. The landscape sensitivity is defined as “high”. The condition/sensitivity matrix shows the area in the highest category “conserve”.
1.5 Maplebeck Viewpoint (1200m distant) is a unique county facility and picnic area from which to appreciate the surrounding countryside and rural landscape. A large wind turbine in such close proximity will dominate the outlook.
1.6 Proliferation
       Planning should be concerned about the consequences of incremental planning. If each application is simply considered on its own merits, but in isolation, then the result could be a proliferation of individual turbines, which collectively impact a huge area. This is beginning to happen on the drive into Nottingham. Clearly an overall plan is required which could limit the overall number per area or perhaps encourages clusters, with appropriate compensation for the effected communities. (Clusters make sense in respect of the infrastructure costs; roadways, cables, connection to the grid etc.)
France has adopted a strategy which concentrates wind farms along the motorway corridors. Given that the landscape has already been impacted by the motorway itself then the addition of turbines can do little more damage.


2.    Impact on protected wildlife species  The adjacent SSSI is a home to fauna, including birds, that can potentially be killed. The large local population of bats could also be affected. There must have been a bat survey carried out. Evidence from Denmark (where wind turbines generate 9% of electricity) indicates that 30,000 birds are killed every year by wind turbines; but traffic kills one million and in the UK cats kill 55 million every year.

3.    Potential noise / vibration  This is very low frequency and low amplitude. The impact depends on distance between the installation and property and the prevailing wind. The nearest property is North Lodge (600m distant). Advice is to demand a site specific Noise Impact Assessment. A 2004 DTI report was commissioned to investigate claims that LFN and infrasound were causing health effects. The report noted that a phenomenon known as Aerodynamic Modulation was occurring in ways not anticipated by UK regulations relating to wind farms. The Noise Abatement Society has commissioned more research into the negative effects which in Cornwall have been reported as increased incidents of headaches, migraines, nausea, sleep disorders, depression etc.

4.    Flicker (from the sun behind the rotating blades) The impact is dependant upon the relative locations and distance of the installation and property. Maplebeck is roughly due North of the proposed site (actually NNW) and at 1000m is in the worst location for flicker. This can also have a potential health effect for susceptible individuals (can trigger epilepsy). Advice is to request a site specific Health Impact Assessment.

5.    Distance from residential property The “Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises) Bill 2012-13 proposed that if the height of the wind turbine generator was >50m and <100m then the minimum distance requirement is 1500m. The proposed installation fails this test in every direction. The first reading of the Bill took place in May 2012 and the second reading has yet to be scheduled.

6.    Impact on local economy.  In 2010 the adjacent Readyfield Farm (1100m distant) started a glamping (high end camping) business (£60,000 investment). The business attracts city dwellers seeking rural peace and tranquility. The actual campsite is much closer to the wind turbine, which is in full view of all the tents. This new business, which has created well-needed employment for the local economy, unlike the turbine, which will create none, will be severely impacted.

7.    Impact on local listed buildings. A number of listed buildings are within the impacted area.

8.    Impact on property pricesThere is some local evidence from Eakring that the value of residential property, which is in close proximity to Turbine installations, can be impacted detrimentally.

C  Ownership
This proposal is a business investment decision by a wealthy landowner, who happens to have suitable sites, which by definition must be prominent, in order to benefit the landowner. Clearly there is a great attraction in obtaining more government subsidies.
Many EU nations are much more advanced with wind power. The fundamental difference is ownership. In Germany 70% of turbines are community owned and in Denmark 80%. The fact that the local community benefits from cheaper electricity or from a return on an investment in the turbines means that objections are very limited and inherently there is compensation built into the system for the impact of the installation on the locality. This is in great contrast to the Maplebeck proposal where a wealthy landowner simply wants to make more money at the expense of the community, which is impacted.
The Hockerton community Wind Turbine provides a return to the local investors and also provides significant donations to all households and to community projects.

D.  Recent Planning Decisions
The Eakring / Bilsthorpe planning application was rejected by N&SDC planning committee; but on appeal the inspector overturned the decision. The number of turbines was reduced and the tower heights were reduced by 10m.
In respect of a recent application in South Muskham, the N&SDC planning committee voted against a single 102m high turbine on grounds of its cumulative impact, the effect on surrounding villages, its scale and that it would ruin the character of the area.
In January 2013 the High Court overturned an inspector’s decision to allow an array of five 123m turbines in South Northamptonshire, for which planning had originally been refused.


The best independent reference that has been found over the years is “Sustainable Energy-without the hot air” by David J C Mackay. So if you want to know more and put right the urban myths it is is suggested a study of this may help.

Posted 23rd July 2013

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