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Call for Cornwall buffer zones to keep homes and turbines apart

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 09, 2013

Call for Cornwall buffer zones to keep homes and turbines apart

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Detailed plans to prevent wind farms being built too close to homes and beauty spots have been revealed in Cornwall.

The council could be on course for a costly showdown with powerful energy companies by creating buffer zones of almost 1km around residential properties and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

One of the more extreme options under consideration would represent an almost total block on any new planning permissions for large-scale wind farms – due to the Duchy's narrow land mass and scattered population.

But campaigners against the technology claim it is standard practice for developers to routinely exclude sites closer than 800m to properties in other areas and argue that enshrining exclusion zones in planning law would simply be correcting a long-standing anomaly.

Scott Mann, councillor for Wadebridge who was recently selected to stand as a Conservative in the North Cornwall constituency in the General Election, is leading a working group on the issue.

To illustrate the effects on the landscape officers have modelled detailed maps based on minimum distances to be set at 320m, 820m and 920m.

Mr Mann said there has been a clamour for action by local people, many of whom have never joined any previous protests.

"What I am hearing from people is that they are very keen on this, and it is coming from people who have never objected to a wind farm before but are very concerned about the effects on AONBs and tourism," he added.

"It seems that the very nature of Cornwall means that if we are to operate a policy like other councils have we shouldn't have any large wind turbines.

"I could see it turning into judicial review but it is in place in other places and works in those areas."

Experts in planning policy who have battled to halt developers say the legality of local authorities creating such policies will be tested by a legal case later next year.

They say a judicial review of a decision by Milton Keynes Council to create a separation zone of 2km between turbines and homes could be a landmark.

A recent report by industry body Regen South West urged councils not to bow to pressure from campaigners to create buffer zones.

Nevertheless, many areas are pursuing policies as supplementary guidance rather than hard and fast policy.

The move has won backing from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Bob Barfoot, North Devon CPRE chairman and a veteran of "many dozens of battles to oppose turbines in sensitive areas", said the authority should not be "frightened".

He added: "If they tried to impose a 2km exclusion zone around single turbines they may find themselves in the High Court, but there is nothing wrong with adopting standard practice for wind farms of 800m.

"If a lot of wind farm developers work on an 800m zone in other parts of the country then why should Cornwall be any different?"

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  • eskimo21  |  February 12 2013, 3:25PM

    Cottage Farm, the only reason there is no scientific grounds on wind farm noise, is that the wind industry refuse to allow any research into low frequency noise. Many people throughout the world are experiencing some kind of problem when living in the proximity of wind farms, I do agree with you that there should not be any artificial buffer zones, the buffer zones should be compulsory and enforced by law. There is a 2 km advisory zone in Scotland, this should be extended to the whole of the UK AND be mandatory. There is nothing NIMBY about not wanting to have your health destroyed by wind noise. At one time this country used to be a green and pleasant land, and also erred on the side of caution, Erring on the side of caution about wind farms would be not having them too close to houses. According to the Australian Waubra Foundation, "The Foundation's position, as the most technically informed entity in Australia upon the effects of wind turbines on human health, is this: Until the recommended studies are completed, developers and planning authorities will be negligent if human health is damaged as a result of their proceeding with, or allowing to proceed, further construction and approvals of turbines within 10km of homes. It is our advice that proceeding otherwise will result in serious harm to human health."

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  • eskimo21  |  February 12 2013, 9:33AM

    Wind farms require large amounts of water-insoluble concrete, digging up the ground to connect up all the turbines may destroy field drains with the result that less water drains into the soil, all this could cause an increase in flooding. Most of the wind that reaches the UK, comes from the Atlantic Ocean where the wind picks up a lot of moisture. When the wind reaches land and rises over hills, the wind becomes colder and some of the moisture falls as rain (because colder air holds less moisture). What happens when the wind reaches an obstruction, it rises and causes more rain. If the obstruction is a wind farm with towers (and blades) over 450 feet (or more) - what happens? Does it just ignore the obstruction a flow through, or does it treat the wind farm like other obstructions and rise above it causing increased rain? This may possibly be an explanation of why some parts of the country are experiencing more and more flooding (and others greater droughts). It would need wind tunnel testing to show if this is the case or not.

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  • IvorWard  |  February 11 2013, 8:09PM

    Part 3 Cottage Barn: "" Adding AD plants and energy storage to the system solves the intermittency issue of renewable energy."" There is no such thing as mass storage for electricity other that pumped hydro. We do not have the battery technology to store mains electricity in any useful quantity, and are not likely to get economic large storage for at least 100 years. We do not have anywhere in Cornwall to build dams for pumped storage. Cottage barn: "" Wind turbines repay their investment in CO2 in between three and nine months" So what? There is no correlation between CO2 and climate warming for longer than 20 years in the whole of known history let alone proof of causation. There has been no statistically significant rise in global temperature for 16 years. Humans emit 3% of CO2 in the atmosphere and the UK emits 1.5% of the human component. The Chinese are increasing their emissions by more than our total every year so if you really think building a few turbines will change anything you are seriously deluded. Cottage Barn: ""I am all for them and for doing everything in our power to safeguard Cornwall and the whole planet for future generations"" You cannot save something by destroying it. This is a typically shoddy argument. Covering Cornwall in new tracks, pylons, copper cabling, concrete turbine bases, and turbines will destroy the vistas which we sell to the world as tourism. You may find them pleasing but you obviously have never seen the vast armies of them that cover lowland Germany or Denmark. One cowpat is ok but when your entire landscape is covered it is a different story. Turbines should be at least 73 miles from human habitation. Tip the lot of them in the sea and save the subsidies to research the next generation of power sources. What that will be we don't yet know, but going backwards to a failed technology of the 19th century is not sensible by any standard.

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  • IvorWard  |  February 11 2013, 8:07PM

    Cottage Farm:"" Research shows that tourist are largely happy to visit areas with wind turbines"" Research in Scotland shows that 20% of people will no longer visit because of turbines. This is before they have even seen the full horror of the devastation around Stirling Castle for example. Perhaps you do not mind losing 20% of your income but for most tourist businesses that is the difference between life and death.I note your use of the word "largely" with interest. Cottage Farm: ""• Wind turbines kill about 0.0001 per cent of all the birds and bats that man-made structures kill."" So by this argument as 2502 children were injured on the roads in 2010 it won't make any difference if we club a few more kids to death. Turbines are built in the WILD areas, the one remaining place where birds could live in safety from us. Now you want to cover their moorlands and hills in man made structures just to finish off the few survivors. Why do you hate birds so much? What right have you got to take more of their land for your use? You should be working to improve their lot not condoning the destruction of their last safe habitat. Turbines should be at least 73 miles from human habitation. Tip the lot of them in the sea and save the subsidies to research the next generation of power sources. What that will be we don't yet know, but going backwards to a failed technology of the 19th century is not sensible by any standard.

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  • IvorWard  |  February 11 2013, 7:58PM

    28days earlier:"wind and solar developments have 'outperformed' installed capacity." What absolute rubbish. It is not physically possible for a turbine to "outperform" itself without blowing up and catching fire. The same goes for solar panels. The "capacity" factor is the absolute maximum that a rotor could produce at a steady wind speed of 7mps, blowing along the axis of the rotor both in the vertical and horizontal plane. Just by putting them at the top of a slope you ruin that part. Onshore turbines produce between 10% and 32% of their capacity depending on how well they are sited. 28days earlier:""Are we supposed to continue to rely on oil from the Middle East and Africa or Gas from Russia"" More rubbish. We have approximately 1500 years worth of shale gas at current consumption under Lancashire with more fields still to be explored. P.S Use your real name if you want to be taken seriously. Turbines should be at least 73 miles from human habitation. Tip the lot of them in the sea and save the subsidies to research the next generation of power sources. What that will be we don't yet know, but going backwards to a failed technology of the 19th century is not sensible by any standard.

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  • letigre  |  February 11 2013, 7:46PM

    There are already far too many Cornish residents enrolled into a number of UK health studies into the potential adverse affects of living close to wind turbines. In the event that wind turbine syndrome becomes recognized, Cornwall will wish to stand out as being able to say we tried to avoid wherever possible adversely affecting the health of our residents, whilst maintaining a good energy mix. A continued policy of allowing turbines to be sited far too close to residential homes, without any form of protection or relocation strategy will do nothing but damage for the overall long term energy strategy of the county.

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  • eskimo21  |  February 11 2013, 12:35PM

    It is time a proper buffer zone was established by law. I know people who have been affected by wind turbine noise. South Australia government is forcing research into low frequency noise, which wind farm developers are refusing to do in this country. It is also a fact that wind sometimes just doesn't blow at all. Last Friday wind production had dropped to 71 MW we are lucky that coal was able to produce almost 18 GW we also had to import almost 2 GW from France and Holland (26 times more electricity than wind produced). When will people realise that wind is only suitable as an auxilliary power source. Anyone relying on wind power as the major source will be subject to frequent and unpredictable black outs.

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  • DogsDanglies  |  February 10 2013, 1:09PM

    @28daysearlier: so, how many wind turbines would be built if there were no subsidies? And by 'subsidy' I actually mean a fuel TAX as we all have to pay it. How many old people will die in the cold weather as they can't afford to heat their homes because of the fuel TAX that's been imposed to counter global WARMING .... ?? I think that all politicians that voted for the climate change act (or whatever it's called) should be charged with manslaughter whenever someone dies of cold because they can't afford to heat their house.

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  • tigger3  |  February 10 2013, 11:21AM

    The MASSIVE Ladock turbine planning application PA12/11885 has many homes inside the 800 metre and most of New Mills hamlet considerably closer. The application seems to take no account of either the unspoilt rural location or the health and wellbeing of neighbours with the probable sleep disturbances due to 24/7 blade swish and resulting health issues from siting a turbine in such close proximity to residents' homes If you believe in a minimum safe distance from a turbine of this size to peoples' homes please lobby your MP and councillor and attend protest meetings, look at Cornwall Protect for petitions to sign and Campaign to Protect of Rural England for information about this and other rural issues like creation of a National Park in Cornwall.

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  • 2TheBeehive  |  February 09 2013, 2:59PM

    You are right, sources from other power never varies, take for example the good old power stations. If governments in this country pulled their fingers out we could also be sourcing deep-sea methane gas which would give us our own energy for hundreds of years. They could use the North Sea gas stations that already exist and re-drill. We then would have no need for Russia's reserves, we would be self sufficient. Tunnel vision is a sad state to get into.

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