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CPRE calls for action over ‘proliferation’ of wind turbines

09:19 30 April 2012

Kessingland wind turbines near Lowestoft.

Kessingland wind turbines near Lowestoft.

Archant 2012

A growing “proliferation” of onshore wind turbines threatens to damage valued landscapes and intrude into some of the most tranquil areas of East Anglia, according to a new report.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has published a study today which highlights an exponential growth in wind energy applications and calls for a locally-accountable, strategically-planned overview from the government.

Across England, the CPRE says there were 685 wind turbines of 30m or taller either completed, in construction, or awaiting approval in 2008 – a figure which it claims had risen to 1,831 by 2010 and to more than 4,100 by March 2012.

But industry association RenewableUK said the concerns were “misplaced” as its statistics show only 1,826 onshore turbines were currently planned across the country, with stringent environmental safeguards already embedded in the planning system.

In Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, there are 146 operational turbines, with 124 approved, seven under construction and another 94 in planning.

James Parry, chairman of CPRE Norfolk, said: “Nobody would dispute the need to explore new sources of renewable energy, but what we have seen is a proliferation of wind turbines which nobody ever imagined, with more to come.

“There is no doubt that the cumulative effect of those already built is having a serious impact on landscapes which are greatly cherished by local people. The time has come for the government and planning authorities to listen to the public on this issue and pay proper attention to the loss of landscape character and tranquillity that wind turbines can provoke.”

The report cites two controversial turbines at Weston Longville, near Lenwade, as an example of planning inspectors “using the lifetime of onshore wind proposals as a justification for granting permissions.”

The application by Bernard Matthews to build the 125m structures on a former airfield was initially refused by Broadland District Council amid vociferous local opposition, but a government inspector overturned the decision in February.

The report says the application was approved “because he determined that the 25-year permission made the structure temporary, at least in landscape terms. This is not a satisfactory approach.”

Among the recommendations of the report is that developers should adopt legally-binding safeguards to ensure onshore turbines are dismantled once they reach the end of their useful life.

The report, named Generating Light on Landscape Impacts, also calls on the government to provide clarity on the number and location of onshore wind turbines it expects to see built, and to ensure councils protect landscape character through their local plans.

Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK’s director of policy, said: “The biggest threat to our valued landscapes is climate change.

“Striking a balance between our need for renewable energy to help combat climate change, while also protecting the landscape we all cherish, is the role of our planning system.

“The CPRE claims that more layers of bureaucracy are needed in the planning process, but the current planning system already rightly provides environmental safeguards which are among the most stringent in the world.”

Dr Edge also pointed to a recent Ipsos Mori opinion poll which showed 62pc of rural residents found the visual impact of wind turbines acceptable.

36 comments

  • I think your estimate for the amount generated is somewhat conservative, Turbines are considerably more efficient than previously as the technology develops, and continued investment will see efficiency improve. Alongside this, the advantage of onshore turbines, as opposed to offshore is the existing infrastructure means there is no need for miles of cabling. The construction time is fast, so while conventional power stations take years to be generating, a turbine can be up and generating fast, (and decommissioned fast). It would be a profuse lack of foresight if we halted development of this renewable and cheap energy because of the NIMBY views of a vocal minority.

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • The CPRE seems to have become blind on one eye, whilst the one that can see the charitable donations come in from influential windfarm objectors can see. That said, nobody should be encouraged to build inferior windturbines, noisy turbines etc., but to say they don't work on land is scare mongering, it is not true. What people have not cottoned on to is that they,. as a community could own and build it, that information is kept away from the public, whilst large land owners companies and the crown estate can get away with building their mega turbines with our subsidy.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Daisy, I suspect you are, at the moment, unable to work out the figures to substantiate the comments you make as opinions and that makes for frustration. Could I suggest that you look at the Country Guardian website and the book by John Etherington "The Wind Farm Scam" to be able to learn how to manipulate the numbers to properly see the pictures the numbers paint. As you realise, it is about technical literacy, not greenwash religious opinion such as that espoused by Callum Ringer and Barry Groom.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Dumpling

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • Yorky, google into and then search through 'bmreports'. If you have an Apple-Mac you will not be able to see the graphs but you will with a PC. You will then be able to see all the "porkies".

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Dumpling

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Callum, only wind turbines require 100% back up, no other form of energy production does. And in cased it escaped your notice, we are becoming increasingly dependent in imported gas for our power partly as a result of wind turbines. There is no logic whatsoever in saying that the way to reduce subsidies is to build even more of them? This is the complete opposite of the truth and reality.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • There is a new application in place for one at North Walsham. The average windspeed there is 10Kts, 11.5Mph. The output of this supposed 2300Kw turbine in such wind conditions is 174Kw!!!! People need to start realising that these things do NOT work onshore and need to understand that those wishing to install them would NOT do so without the considerable subsidies we all pay for the Carbon Tax on our utility bills. This is nothing to do with renewable energy, ALL to do with income from ridiculous subsidies. Put them offshore, they still won't generate much, but at least we won't see OR HEAR them!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Andy, Every form of energy production is subsidised, and wind is subsidised more because it is in its infancy. If you want them subsidised less, then we need to build more! Also, All forms of energy production need back up as all forms of electricity generation have periods when they are not generating. A more widespread coverage from Wind Turbines would be good as the wind is very rarely blowing no where in the country (onshore and offshore), also along with more household solar schemes and tidal, we can reduce our dependency on overseas imports. Logically, UKIP should support our increase in energy self sufficiency. But they are too busy being grumpy.

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Are there any reliable annual figures available which give the daily and average wind speeds and power output values9 both peak and average0 for all wind driven electrical alternators ( popularly known as wind turbines) ? All we seem to get are possibly biassed optimistic figures from the operators and benefactors from the scheme. The visual impact of these machines has nothong to recommend them to the public at large

    Report this comment

    Yorky

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Ingo. As many times before, you are completely wrong, and here's why. Wind turbines NEED wind, and lots of it. Yes they do work on land but poorly at best. If you are to go to all the bother, and this blog says it all, actually, of putting an inappropriate turbine in the wrong place then all that is achieved is stupidity. There are no downhill ski slopes in N Norfolk because there are no hills and very little snow. Therforere it is stupid, at best, to put a wind turbine, on land, where we already know it's not windy. Simple! NOT scare mongering, just SIMPLE FACTS, how difficult does this have to be???????????????

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Every wind turbine has to backed up by 100% conventional power station which is gas powered. To save on new pylons, wherever turbines are sited there should be a gas generator sited next to it or them to cover the down time. This can be paid for out of the massive subsidies paid to wind farm owners.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Best top up the candle stock Callum, you'll need them! £1 per 10 at Roy's, I'd get there before they sell them all!!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Callum. What you say may be true but it doesn't alter the laws of Physics. The wind turbine proposed for North Walsham will not produce more than 174Kw in the local average winds, it is therefore idiotic to install it, irrespecitve of the visual and noise impacts. Hopefully this application will be rejected and this absurd edifice of "Greenness" will never exist.

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Callum. Do the following:- log onto Google, type in Enercon E82. Go to the information data sheet and download it, then scroll down to E82, 2.3Mw. The manufacturere's OWN data sheet tells you what the output is in any wind condition, 174Kw for 5Msec, the local average wind. So, no Nimbyism, no blinding with science, simple facts, obtainable by anyone. The laws of Physics apply to you too, even if you wish to ignore them in this idiotic scheme for North Walsham

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Barry. An output of 400Kw from a device with a rated power of 2300Kw, means an average output of 17 percent of its capability. This can only mean that it is being propsed in a stupid, (at best), place to install it. In a similar vein, downhill snow skiing is not easily done in Norfolk for the following reasons, no hills, rarely any snow. Yet the wooly idealists seem to be able to ignore the above and want to install a WIND turbine where all available wind data shows it's not WINDY enough!!! By the way, my calcs give it an output of 174Kw, 7.5percent of its rated power, skiing uphill would be more fun!!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Well done to the CPRE for their stirling work in protecting our countryside. Why ever would we want any of those ghastly windmills when we could have some delightfully aesthetic nuclear power stations instead?

    Report this comment

    robotsthatcare

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • Nice big power station on the old Crane trailer site, that is what we need, solve all the problems. While wind generators are not the whole answer to the problem they can be part of it, why is it people are so against them? Some farms and businesses just want them to provide their own power needs and they are certainly not a blot on the landscape.

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

  • The CPRE are spot on. The cowardly Planning Inspectorate are riding roughshod over the democratic processes we hold dear, all for the benefit of inept government and the "rich kids" they clearly favour!

    Report this comment

    Anthony Gower

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Callum:- Have you done what I suggested yet? It'll be intersting to see what you say after looking at the output of the E82 at 5msec, 11.5Mph. Daisy Roots:- You have a point but at least out at sea it's WINDY! On shore is much less windy, and therfore a fundamentally stupid place to place them. And, you can't HEAR them when offshore.

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • I might be wrong say-is but surely they need a constant wind of a certain speed to operate best? When it is really windy they turn them off and they don't care because they still get paid. So a place where it is known to be still in high pressure type weather in winter or summer is no good,but coastal regions should be fine-they get onshore winds. I know it is a bit windier out at Scroby, than at Hemsby for instance , but not that much. On the high ground at Happisburgh, Hemsby, Gimingham etc they would catch the wind -surely the energy saved in construction and maintenance would make good some of the difference. The big ones I see out in the Fens seem to turn pretty much all the time. be interesting to see comparisons of production between modern turbines on the coast and ones offshore, whether having to be turned off cancels the advantage of windier conditions.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • Callum. You really do love avoiding both facts and Physics! Even the lunatics at Unity Wind are now quoting a "Healthy" 400Kw, and you tell me this is power for 1250 homes!!!!! If I bought a 100Mph car and found it could manage 17.4 Mph I would rightly be unimpressed, you, and Unity Wind, seem to perfectly happy with a similar output from this ridiculous turbine. Please explain in simple terms how you plan to run your home on 4001250 (Kw divided by homes) = 320Watts per house. You better not be afraid of the dark! This proposal is stupid, ill thought out and will be the worst "investment" in the history of mankind, DO NOT be suckered into putting money into it.

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • I completely agree with Dr Gordon Edge in this article. The CPRE often does more to destroy rural England and its prospects than it does protect it.

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • The beautiful countryside that CPRE and others on here wax lyrical about is an illusion and simply the end result of thousands of years of intensive agricultural and other uses. I'm sure that if our forebears were able to see the changes we've made they would claim that we had ruined the countryside and destroyed the world they knew and cared for? Change is inevitable and the important thing is to ensure that as far as possible the things we do cause the least damage to our environment? If the CPRE was really concerned about aesthetics they should consider how to remove power lines and telegraph poles from every town and village in Norfolk. However, perhaps that is unrealistic as we seem to find those things acceptable?

    Report this comment

    Douglas McCoy

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • As I've said before, if we have to have this inefficient system here, keep them offshore where only the companies that build and operate them can squeeze more profit from the users (us) instead of a bunch of quick money making entrepreneurs and lazy landowners. I have recently flown a couple of times over France,Spain and Portugal....I like to look at the countryside down below (always ask for window seat)....bit pointless now alot of the big hills and 'mountains' are covered in these monstrosities... and half the b*^":s were not working... hey Sayitasitis, lets start an underground demolition unit to rid us of these damn things? te he he

    Report this comment

    spodav

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Callum, what is the total subsidy paid to provide an average of 1250 homes?

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    andy

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Daisy Roots, interesting, but not all Turbine Applications are from Large organisations. The North Walsham one is community run, and the one in Bodham is a local farmer as part of diversification. Sayitasitis: Having done a little research now on the NW turbine, it is conservatively estimated to power 1,250 homes. Not bad that. (that is based on average wind speeds)

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Daisy, I would suggest that you investigate the toxic products of combustion created by burning wood and biomass compared with burning coal and their relative effects on human life. Also work out the difference in people 1 acre of land used in food production can service and the number of people 1 acre of land for wood and biomass production can service. We have an intense population to provide for not one person every 50 miles!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Dumpling

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • Everyone knows that whatever the justification for windfarms for ecological or power supply reasons, the spivs running the windfarm companies are making money out of sticking industrial installations wherever they please. If right at the start of this rush for subsidies the government had required councils to designate sites ( in the same way as quarries are licensed) where the site was deemed ot be efficient for enegy production and not too intrusive in the landscape, everyone would know where they stood. Instead we have the might of developers used to impose their money spinners on small communities as the whim takes them. The whole business should have been government owned and run as we are paying for it.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • The dash for cash and politics, not saving the planet, are the driving forces behind wind energy. Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please object to the Government by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958″ and following the link.

    Report this comment

    David Ramsbotham

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Andy If this is so simple to you, why is it so difficult for others? The FACTS are there, there is no possibilty of error. This thing will NEVER achieve its rated output, if it does the news will be overwhelmed with peoples roofes becoming airborne!!

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    windup

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Good Luck with your Nuclear Power stations chaps.

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • what is david ramsbotthams alternative ? nuclear power according to his ukip party ! subsidised by us too , more dangerous and more of a blot on our landscape

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • No one shold have to live near these things.The noise they make is shocking.

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    Johnny Norfolk

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Surely the assumption that wind power will not always need a subsidy can only be true if improvements to the technology can make it efficient enough or if we have no alternative? I have some friends heating their home with a woodburning system fuelled by a sustainable very small plot of trees. Maybe we should be ignoring the twaddle from the carbon scaremongers and planting up all our uplands and waste lands with trees for biomass. Look at the land wasted beside new roads and motorways-planted with alder and poplar they could be coppiced and provide a environmental and fuel benefits.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • I assume people have forgotten that Norfolk historically used to have lots of.......you guessed it.........Windmills!!!

    Report this comment

    NorthCity

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • You’ll be pleased to hear that the Turbine proposed for North Walsham is not going to be owned by a foreign utility company, but by Unity Wind. An organisation based in Norfolk, working on a ‘not for profit’ basis. In this instance, the profits from the Wind Turbine will be split between local investors (anybody can buy a share for a very modest sum) and local good causes. I’m sure that you’ll be equally pleased to hear that the average wind speed for this area is 6.4ms (12.4 knots) according the DECC, which will produce a rather healthy average of 400kW. Wind Power can work both onshore and offshore. This clean, safe and sustainable form of energy is the best way we currently have of preventing harmful emissions and reducing our dependency on imported energy.

    Report this comment

    Barry Groom

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Having said that, if we are going to have wind turbines I can't see the justification for having them offshore-terrible waste of energy and money building and servicing them out at sea. All a shambles from beginning to end.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, April 30, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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