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.