Sunday, 10 November 2013

So where are the silent majority?

When you've been supporting wind farms for a year or more, you begin to realise that few people locally, although sympathetic and open minded, are prepared to speak up in the defence of them. Let's face it it is
a lot easier to say no than yes, particularly when some of your neighbours are screaming NO! and I guess a good many people just don't want to get involved because the debate has become so acrimonious.
So I've often wondered what would happen if you commissioned a credible poll of Lincolnshire
residents and asked them "Would you be happy to live near a wind farm?"
Because of the recent irresponsibly negative publicity churned out by our local authorities I'd have guessed that probably less than 50% would answer yes, so I'm assuming that the Mail on Sunday had the same view when they put that very question to 1000 randomly selected GB citizens.
The unpalatable result (it must have been unpalatable because they don't appear to have published it!)
is that 70% of the 1000 people answered YES!

Mail on Sunday Energy Poll October 2013

So if you are one of the silent majority that supports wind farms, but have no wish to become embroiled in the debate, do the next best thing and write to your local authority with the simple message.

"I'd be happy to live near a wind farm"

Louth Canal Wind Energy update

Partnership for Renewables have submitted amended plans for the siting of the sub station for this

This has been agreed by ELDC who acknowledge it  reduces any negative impact on the warehouse at Thoresby Bridge.

Louth Canal Wind Energy update

The Public Inquiry is scheduled for 21st January 2014.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Support for Temple Hill

The application for Temple Hill Wind Farm has  been submitted, validated and is on South Kesteven Council’s website.

Obviously any support is subject to the details of the application so please view those here SKDC planning   application number  S13/2699.

 There is a well organised and vociferous campaign against this project. As with most anti wind groups they complain bitterly about the wind industry "propaganda" but then continue to produce deliberately misleading and spurious "facts" to galvanise local support. 
        The Revolt group have this  to say about wind turbine efficiency.

"We won’t go into all the details (though if you’d like to know the maths please email us!) but the basic answer is NO. The huge development at Temple Hill would only power around 800 kettles."
I would suggest that most people would consider this an insignificant amount, I mean a kettle is only on for a couple of minutes isn't it?
Well this case they mean 800 kettles on 24 hrs every day 365 days a year, not very helpful comparison really is it? I mean who is going to keep topping up the water and changing the elements when they burn out?:)
 Furthermore their 800 kettles should actually be  nearer 1600 permanently boiling kettles  as they have managed to get even this simple calculation wrong ( no wonder they don't want to go into details).
Here is a guide to calculating possible power output from a wind farm.
Maximum power rating of a turbine = (e.g.) 2.5MW
Anticipated total power produced over a year = 25% of rated capacity (load factor)
Therefore over a year with the turbine sometimes running flat out and sometimes not running at all you can expect to average out 625Kw of electricity produced for every hour of the year. So that's 625 Kw/h multiplied by 8760 hrs in a year = 5,475,000 Kw/h p.a.
If you have 5 of these turbines you could realistically produce 27,375,000 Kw/h p.a.
The average kettle requires 2kw of power so if one was on permanently for a year it would use up 2 x 8760 or 17520 Kw/h of electricity ( incidentally the average UK household uses 4700 Kw/h p.a.)
So if you were daft enough to use up all of the output from the turbines to boil kettles you would power  1562.5 kettles (27,375,000 total Kw/h divided by 17520 Kw/h per kettle) almost double the number Revolt are offering as a "fact".
Please register your support for this scheme. Don't let the scare tactics of a misguided few be the only words the planning department have to consider.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Louth Canal Wind Energy Project

Partnership for Renewables have lodged an appeal against ELDC's decision to deny planning permission for the Louth Canal Wind Energy Project Partnership for Renewables

The Public Inquiry is scheduled for the 21st January 2014 and will take 6 days to complete.
The planning application can be viewed here: East Lindsey District Council
and details of the appeal here: Planning inspectorate

The project involves three wind turbines up to a maximum of 2.5MW capacity for each turbine.

Partnership for Renewables have followed recent government recommendations and increased the package of community benefits to £5000 per MW per annum. This means the local community could receive up to £37,500 every year for the anticipated 25 year life of the project,  £937,500 in total.

It is extremely important for supportive local voices to be heard by the Planning Inspector if this appeal is to be upheld so please do what you can to ensure the "silent majority" is encouraged to register their support.

Accept the change

This is a two page A4 flyer designed to be distributed to all households within sight of a current wind farm planning application. The government's recent guidelines emphasise the need for local community support toward wind farms and have recommended higher financial payments for the communities affected.

If you'd like a pdf file of the flyer please email

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Quote for the Lincolnshire Echo re: Hemswell Cliff wind farm public consultation

"Despite recent headlines in the media the government hasn't changed the national policy on the need to deploy onshore wind farms to meet our commitment to supply 15% of UK energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.
"The UK has some of the best wind resources in Europe and onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective large-scale renewable energy technologies. We are committed to using onshore wind as part of the UK’s energy mix."
What the government have clarified is that current national planning guidelines should be more closely followed by both the developers and the local planning authority. The developer must fully consult those affected by their proposals and take action to reduce any adverse impacts. Local planning authorities should identify sites which would be suitable for large scale renewable projects as well as those that are not and include them in their development plans. Local authorities should not sit back, wait for the applications to be submitted and say no to every proposal.

There is no veto against wind farms although there is an acknowledgement from the government that the national demand for renewable energy should not automatically trump quantifiable local impacts.

The government are challenging those who might instantly dismiss wind farms to actually consider the facts and the seriousness of the issues behind their deployment. There are plans for additional training seminars for local authority representatives and "evidence tool kits" which will provide peer reviewed, factual data about onshore wind turbines for communities to consider.

There are proposals for significant financial benefits for local communities affected by wind farms and in a time of financial uncertainty that should be welcomed.

A "knee jerk" no to wind farms is no longer acceptable. It results in unnecessary expense for the tax payer ( East Lindsey District Council recently announced they have spent almost £500,000 on appeals against wind farms). I would urge everyone to look beyond the angry rhetoric of the anti-wind protesters, seek out the facts and make sure their voice is heard in the public consultation."

Friday, 7 June 2013

The veto that never was

It's been widely reported in the media today that local residents affected by onshore wind farm proposals will be given the opportunity to "veto" the development.
That sounds like bad news for the future of onshore wind in the UK as passing on the decision for the deployment of wind farms to those people most affected by their presence is surely a death knell for onshore wind?
But there appears to be an anomaly between the soundbite announcement from Downing St "local residents will be able to stop unwanted wind farms" and the real thrust of the onshore wind call for evidence recently concluded by DECC ,the source of the government's review of onshore wind in the UK.

If you read the document in full (see link on right) it is obvious that the government is merely requiring that the protaganists of the onshore wind debate play by the rules that already exist.
The wind farm developers must properly consult with residents prior to any application and the local planning authorities must include in their local development plan, areas that are suitable for on shore wind and those that are not due to material impacts on the local surroundings, be it historic buildings or cumulative affects.

The call for evidence makes it plain that onshore wind remains a continuing essence in the UK's energy road map for the future. The government wants to encourage community ownership and it aims to promote the facts about the benefits and importance of onshore wind through "evidence tool kits" and training seminars to LPA's.

It has ramped up the recommended payments that developers should make to communities for the life of the wind farm  to £5000 per MW (rated capacity) per annum (many developers already make payments at similar levels).

The challenge is for local authorities to stop putting their head in the sand over this issue and to accept the role that on shore wind has to play in our energy future. They will have greater powers to object to inappropriate wind farms but only if they have demonstrated that they have identified areas where onshore would be acceptable in a local development plan.

 It seems to me that what has been reported to the press in soundbite form is a reaction to the divisive appeal of UKIP to many conservatives  but is a total red herring when it comes to the reality of the situation. There is nothing in the proposals that gives the local residents an unconditional veto against onshore wind developments.

LPA's that behave responsibly on this issue by including a constructive on shore wind policy in their local development plan will gain some control over onshore wind in their areas because they will have demonstrated that they are not just saying no to every proposal.

The message is listen to the facts, understand the issues, behave responsibly in the national interest, avoid wasting taxpayers money on appeals for perfectly acceptable on shore wind proposals and gain the legitimacy to object to inappropriate proposals.

Are you listening ELDC?

Monday, 29 April 2013

UKIP, do you know what they stand for?

I received my UKIP bundle through the letter box this morning and on the back of an A5 size poster were these words: "You know what UKIP stands for"
Well I know they are against the European parliament and they're against immigration and against political correctness (whatever that means) and against wind farms but I was not altogether sure what they stood for so being as this is a pro-wind blogsite, I thought I'd look up their energy policy.
It's written by Roger Helmer MEP and includes several gems of climate change denialism.   Their policy states “The slight warming in the last hundred years is entirely consistent with well established, long-term natural climate cycles — the Roman Optimum, the Dark Ages, the MediƦval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age. And now we seem to be moving into a new, natural 21st century optimum”. So I guess if you shared that blinkered view of the accelerating environmental crisis you'd probably want to ditch the Climate Change Act of 2008 as UKIP suggest. 
The policy also states that increasing CO2 emissions is ok, which is why it supports fracking for shale gas and open cast coal mines but doesn’t support wind farms and solar arrays. 
Please read the policy here to get a feel for "What UKIP stand for".

UKIP are feeding on the fears of the misinformed...if you get the opportunity to enlighten anyone considering a vote for UKIP I'd suggest you take it.

This week we could well see the earth's atmosphere register 400ppm of CO2 for the first time in several million years....UKIP state this will help to "green" the planet, 
UKIP : anti-science, anti-reality, anti-social.

"Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree." Dr James L Powell

Friday, 19 April 2013

Louth Canal Farm Wind Energy Project

I had a wind assisted cycle ride to Tedder Hall yesterday morning to speak in support of the above three turbine 7.5MW wind farm. Louth Canal farm wind energy the vote went 11-0 for refusal.

I spoke of the purpose of onshore wind in the context of global warming and energy security, there was a  good number of supporters for the project at the meeting but all to no avail.
The usual reasons for anything but wind were given, citing effects on tourism, loss of view for one particular resident 680m from the site, the combined,cumulative effect of this proposal when considered with other proposals that have yet to be approved (not sure how that works..sort of  anticipation of cumulative effect?), the harm caused to the setting and significance of local churches and listed buildings. (English Heritage described this as less than significant).

Whether the developers will appeal we'll have to wait and see. Here's the conclusion of the planning inspector's decision letter on the approval of Gayton-le-Marsh wind farm just to give a little glimmer of objectivity.

"Because of the urgent need for more installed RE to meet the 2020 targets, the bar of acceptability must be set low enough for sufficient schemes to be permitted. Onshore wind energy schemes in particular utilise a reliable and mature technology, can be deployed economically and use a plentiful resource. Many other possible sources of RE are expensive, at an infant stage of development or cannot be implemented quickly. I doubt that, in the short term at least, alternative technologies for renewable electricity generation will mature to the level that would be necessary to make wind energy unattractive as part of the overall mix. It is therefore my overall conclusion that, under these circumstances, the additional harm to the local landscape which would arise from the appeal scheme would be within the bounds of acceptability, especially bearing in mind that after 25 years, the wind farm would be decommissioned and there would be no lasting landscape impact."

Our communities are sleep walking into a energy and climate crisis and though central government seem to be waking up (albeit slightly bleary eyed)  too many people are still sound asleep and dreaming of a future in which everything is how they like it rather than how it will likely be.

Monday, 8 April 2013

What ELDC should do next...

After reading in full the planning inspector's decision letter on Gayton wind farm, there is an interesting reference to the lack of a "realistic context" within the ELDC's local plan with regard to wind farms.

"The Local Plan is of considerable age and there are no saved policies relating to wind energy development. Any commercial wind farm would fall foul of the saved policies relating to landscape protection and I have found that this scheme would therefore conflict with the relevant saved policies. However, the Local Plan does not provide a realistic context for considering wind farm schemes and is therefore out of date. The Regional Plan contains policies supporting renewable energy schemes whilst also aiming to protect the landscape and is consistent with the NPPF."

ELDC's latest Draft core strategy Oct 2012  has a chapter on renewable energy. It is the penultimate one, which may be an indication of the importance of renewable energy to the authors.

"The Council is keen to encourage the exploitation of a range of renewable energy sources that have potential in East Lindsey, including passive and photovoltaic solar, biomass, ground and air source heating and aquifer thermal energy where this will not impact adversely on local communities, biodiversity or landscape character."

Spot the missing technology!

By ignoring the potential of wind and it's importance to the government's strategy in the UK energy road map to 2020, ELDC are in danger of becoming an irrelevance in the planning process. This is not a situation that we should encourage or support, regardless of our views on wind turbine deployment.

The Council's position on all large scale renewable developments..including wind farms is further clarified further on in the chapter on renewable energy.

"Large-scale Renewable Energy developments will only be supported where they are located outside and do not have a significantly adverse impact upon: landscape areas defined as highly sensitive in the East Lindsey Landscape Character Assessment and areas adjacent thereto; the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and where their individual or cumulative impact is not considered to have a negative impact on residential amenity; surrounding distinctive landscape qualities, townscapes and historic landscape character; the context of a historic garden, park, battlefield, designated conservation area or other Heritage Assets; sites or features of natural history importance or protected species; the local economy; highway safety; and water environment and water quality."

It is unrealistic of the council to demand that a large scale renewable energy development  should have no impact on the location in which it is sited. A wind farm by it's very size and construction will have visual impact on our landscape and many people would see that as negative in comparison to that which already exists.

The "realistic context" that the inspector refers to in the decision letter  requires our local authority to understand the challenges that face the nation's energy supply and accept the importance of wind farms (and other large scale renewable energy developments) to the UK's future energy mix. 

If our council wish to have a meaningful voice in the deployment of wind farms in our district they must adopt a strategy on large scale renewable energy development that reflects the importance of the issues involved at a national level and not on the purely parochial.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Gayton-le-Marsh wind farm gets the green light!

The good news from yesterday is that the 8 turbine wind farm proposed for Gayton-le-Marsh has been approved on appeal by the planning inspectorate.

It's been a long time coming but hopefully this substantial wind farm will be deployed without further delay and supply the equivalent of approx. 9,000 UK homes with electricity as soon as possible.

The report is well worth reading as it deals in some detail with the objections raised by the well organised
NOWAG group.

Inspectors report on Gayton wind farm appeal

One of the benefits of this scheme will be the community fund of £60,000 paid annually and divided between the surrounding parish councils during the lifetime of the project.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Please click on this chart for an enlarged view

I thought I'd keep a record of today's high winds that are helping to keep the lights on without burning the gas most people need to heat their's 0 degC outside!
 Plus record this comment from Biff
"Yesterday, at 7.04am, a pump on the Zeebrugge-Bacton interconnector
failed and we lost almost a quarter of our gas supply.  The news reports
concentrated on the instant price spike, from ~90 to 150 pence per
therm.  The electricity generation industry reacted accordingly.
If you look at the graphs carefully, particularly the second row - the
weekly figures, you'll see the reduced supply from gas yesterday, coal
going flat out and the shortfall made up, rather luckily, by a windy
day. Things would have been a lot worse yesterday and today without that
5GW of wind."

Monday, 11 March 2013

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust oppose Delph Wind Farm

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust have objected to a wind farm being located adjacent to Willow Tree Fen and Pinchbeck Fen Slipe Nature reserves  LWT Delph wind farm and are encouraging LWT members to object too.
Understandable you might think as their primary concern will be the effects the wind farm might have on the species that inhabit the reserves.
But if you read on to the reasons for the objection you'll discover that 2 of the 3 reasons for objection relate to perceived disadvantages for our species.

The Trust's concerns are:

** Impacts of the turbines on wildlife, in particular birds, through direct collision with the turbine blades and displacement from the nature reserves due to disturbance from the turbines;

** Impacts on visitors to the nature reserves through noise and visual impact. Would the song of the skylark for example still be audible to visitors with wind turbines 200 metres away?

** Impacts on the fenland landscape character and open views.

The EIA undertaken by the developers indicates that there would be little impact to the environment from the development.

"A number of protected species use the site but collision risk impact assessments show that none of these species would be significantly effected by the proposed wind farm"
Wild Frontier Ecology

So we're back to the reluctance of our species to do very much about the serious impact of global warming in the future, if it means compromising our pleasures today.

I'm a member of the LWT and I appreciate all that they do for increasing bio-diversity and protecting habitats but that doesn't excuse this selfish objection which has very little to do with concern for wildlife on a nature reserve that 4 years ago was a field of beans.

Letter to the press ref: R. Helmer

Last week on Radio Lincolnshire Roger Helmer UKIP MEP declared that it was a “downright lie” to bring to public attention the growing scientific consensus that global temperatures will rise beyond “safe” limits unless we make drastic reductions in CO2 emissions.

Mr Helmer is UKIP’s spokesman on industry and energy. The following statements are from UKIP energy policy

Under the heading “Climate change” is so last century” Mr Helmer and colleagues make these statements ; “ We do not however regard CO2 as a pollutant. It is a natural trace gas in the atmosphere which is essential to plant growth and life on earth” followed by “Higher CO2 levels increase agricultural crop yields and “green” the planet”

These statements display a total disregard for the unequivocal science that supports the “greenhouse effect “ i.e. increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is one, will warm up our planet.

For a more reputable global perspective comes this from the World Bank, a co-operative of senior government ministers from 188 nations around the world.
“Despite the global community’s best intentions to keep global warming below a 2°C increase above pre-industrial climate, higher levels of warming are increasingly likely. Scientists agree that countries’ current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change emission pledges and commitments would most likely result in 3.5 to 4°C warming. And the longer those pledges remain unmet, the more likely a 4°C world becomes.”
Dr. Jim Yong Kim
President, World Bank Group November 2012     Why a 4 degree world must be avoided

The views of UKIP and Roger Helmer should be treated with the contempt they deserve for not only are they anti-wind they are anti-science too.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Here is a link to a radio debate I took part in this morning trying to balance the anti-wind campaign for 5 wind turbines at Temple Hill near Grantham.

My discussion with Paul Miley of the ReVolt group is at 1.06
Follow up comments from Cllr Martin Hill and Roger Helmer are at 2.06
Rod Whiting Show 08/03/13

Pretty much as you'd expect apart from a passing reference in Paul Miley's comments about the Pro wind alliance getting support and money from the wind industry and a text from a member of the public saying that the Lincolnshire Pro wind alliance is funded by the wind industry.

I'd just to make it perfectly clear that this is not the case. To put it plainly, we are not being rewarded to express support for wind farms.

Our view that more wind farms need to be rapidly deployed to help address the challenges of global warming and UK energy security is personal and genuinely held.

Thanks for your support

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Reports of duplicate survey responses

The credibility of the LCC's wind farm survey is cast further in doubt with the revelation that it was possible to complete the online survey any number of times from the same computer. One source reveals that they entered their views at least 30 times within the space of 15minutes.

Is it possible for LCC to justify the adoption of their "anti-wind" guidelines on the back of this seriously flawed survey?

I guess we'll find out on Friday.

Letter to councillors

I emailed this statement to all Lincolnshire County Councillors last week.

Dear Councillors,
Please find attached an article that I'm hoping will be published throughout Lincolnshire.
The content makes it clear that we believe the LCC anti wind campaign is a serious abuse of council authority.
Here are extracts from the Department for Communities and Local Government code of recommended practice on local authority publicity (March 2011), under the heading of Objectivity.
15. Local authorities should ensure that publicity relating to policies and proposals from central government is balanced and factually accurate. Such publicity may set out the local authority’s views and reasons for holding those views, but should avoid anything likely to be perceived by readers as constituting a political statement, or being a commentary on contentious areas of public policy.
16. Any publicity describing the council’s policies and aims should be as objective as possible, concentrating on the facts or explanation or both. Local authorities should not use public funds to mount publicity campaigns whose primary purpose is to persuade the public to hold a particular view on a question of policy
We understand that the anti-wind guidelines are due to be discussed on the 22nd February. 
We urge you to attend that meeting and ensure that these guidelines are not approved as council policy.
Furthermore, we ask that you pass a resolution that prevents future publication of council approved anti wind commentary.
On behalf of the Lincolnshire Pro Wind Alliance
James Pocklington

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Leader of Lincolnshire County Council fails to understand why anyone would think the council have a negative bias against onshore wind farms or would consider the survey printed in the County News not to be a fair reflection of public opinion.

So how to explain?

Well, my understanding of the way to gauge public opinion is to randomly select a number of individuals through telephone or face to face contact and then to ask a set of clearly phrased questions that allow a full range of opinion to be registered. The questions should not be ambiguous, ensuring that every interviewee has a similar understanding of the question before answering it.

Once the answers have been logged and recorded, the data needs to be analysed and weighted to ensure that the sample results represent an accurate proportion of the total population. This means taking care that the views of one sector in terms of age, gender or location do not dominate the final result.

A poll such as this can never factually reflect the views of all of the population but it can give an idea of attitudes generally.
The survey that Lincolnshire County Council produced was really a “call to arms”, it was an invitation to those who had strong feelings to have their say. It was pre-empted by months of anti wind farm rhetoric from Councillor Hill, which made the position of the council perfectly plain. It was not a poll of public opinion.

There were 4000 responses to the survey, 28% came from East Lindsey district which has an active anti wind farm campaign group but only has 19% of the population.
There are approximately 750,000 adults living in Lincolnshire so the survey had a response rate of about 0.5%, a low figure to argue that the results represent a fair view of the whole county.

The survey results showed almost unanimous support for the council guidelines to be considered by the planning authorities, regardless of the fact that the guidelines have no weight in planning law and cannot be considered by the planning authority.

The guidelines have never been published in full within County News but they are available online. If you read the full details and apply them to the existing 7 wind farms in Lincolnshire then most would have failed to gain approval, let alone any new proposals.

National Planning legislation demands “a presumption in favour of sustainable development”. However the council guidelines require “a presumption against wind turbine developments”.
So what is going on here? Why are the council so intent on producing a set of planning guidelines that have no legitimate function and directly contradict central government policy?

Perhaps this is a clue? This passage is taken from a report written to the councillors authored by Alan Freeman LCC head of planning, on the 6th June 2012.

“As the author states, the County Council is not the local planning authority nor is it a local plan making body. As such the County Council has no ability to make planning statements or policy and this statement should be given as a political statement only

The point of the exercise, in my opinion, is to attempt to derail central government policy on the continued deployment of onshore wind farms and support the rebellious section of the Conservative party that do not believe global warming is an issue worth bothering with.

This is why I believe the behaviour of our county council in this matter is improper. It represents a gross misuse of public funds and an abuse of the powers delegated to them by the electorate.

If you agree that the council should stop promoting a negative image of wind power then please sign the on line petition at No bias on wind

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Radio Lincolnshire interview 15/01/12 interview starts at 1h 39m (available till 21/01/13)

 You'll hear Cllr Hill say

  • We're not totally against wind farms
  • We've a duty of well being for all the residents in Lincolnshire
  • Someone had to take a stand and say "enough is enough"
  • Lots of money in wind farms and vested interests asked us to consult the public.
  • Science is showing wind technology is not reliable,not going to be sustainable, does not deliver and isn't worth a "pen".
  • I believe in democracy.
  • I object to being misrepresented, we are not issuing a biased survey.
  • The survey has had 2500 replies and so far 75-80% of people agree with us.
The survey is due to conclude on 21/01/13

If you want to see how big a contribution Lincolnshire is making to the national drive for wind power
check page 21 of " the case for and against onshore wind" listed in the useful links

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

No bias on wind

I've created an online petition directed at Lincolnshire County Council
You can access it here.  No bias on wind

Please take the time to add your name and forward to your contacts within Lincolnshire.