Parish Council opposes proposed wind farm

Published 10 March 2005

The Parish Council unanimously opposes this scheme, believing it is inappropriate for the proposed location for a number of reasons:

(1) There is totally inadequate recognition in the application of the way that neighbouring properties are entirely dependent on groundwater from the area to which they have a legal right in perpetuity. The information that is included on this subject acknowledges the risks of short-term contamination and long-term disruption. Livelihoods depend on these water sources and the potential damage is quite unacceptable.

(2) The application considerably understates the impact on visual amenity for neighbouring properties and the damage to the landscape which extends over a wide area. The special status of the area was identified in the Staffordshire County Council document “Planning for Landscape Change” and denoted on map 7 as a preferred area for woodland planting initiatives. The proposed scheme would also be in conflict with “Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Structure Plan” polices NC1 and NC2.

(3) A large number of residents have voiced concerns over the impact of noise and are not reassured by the data supplied in the Environmental Statement which appear to overlook at least one of the neighbouring properties. The fact that the proposed wind turbines are no longer available seems to invalidate even the simulations that are included. Experiences from existing wind farms indicate that the impact on neighbouring residents is consistently far more severe than the predictions made before construction. The proposed location is a tranquil area where quiet is enjoyed by residents and walkers – both from the locality and tourists – walking the Staffordshire Way. Destroying the peacefulness of this environment is at odds with PPG 24 para 5 which recognises the need to protect areas with high recreational amenity value from noise generating development.

(4) Section 10 relegates deer to “Other species” and seems oblivious to the potential risks to the deer population of this development. Deer are easily startled by noise and, during pregnancy, this can cause spontaneous abortion of the foetus with consequential risk of infection in the mother. In the wild such infection is undetected, untreated and can lead to mortality. The variety of sounds emanating from the turbines as they adapt to changing conditions throughout 24 hours every day of the year cannot fail to affect the deer. Given the historic significance of deer to the area, and the related heritage and tourism generated by the Horn Dance, it would be difficult to imagine any aspect of the local wildlife more intrinsic to the character of this parish. The potential impact on buzzards also seems to have been overlooked.

(5) The proposed development will generate no long-term employment in the area and so does not make a major contribution in the context of agricultural diversity. The Parish Council does not find the suggested benefits for electrical power generated and reduced CO2 convincing. Firstly, significant errors in the calculation of the CO2 saving have been identified which affect the forecast by orders of magnitude. Also, no account is taken of CO2 generated by the construction and removal. Significant amounts will be generated from the manufacture of the large quantity of cement required and the turbines themselves. Similarly, the large number of HGV movements throughout the period of construction will also create CO2. Without a full life-cycle model and accurate calculations, any prediction of CO2 must be treated with extreme caution. Secondly, the predicted power outputs are gross and take no account of the power consumed in construction, transmission losses and turbine efficiency. Additionally, the quoted power factor is way in excess of that typically achieved elsewhere, and the combination of these issues irretrievably undermines the credibility of the forecast power generated.

In summary, the Parish Council believes that the application understates or overlooks significant aspects of the impact on the locality while exaggerating the minimal benefits that might accrue. Were the application to be approved, this would represent an extremely high cost to be paid locally for no proven benefit either in this area or to the national drive for renewable energy.

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