Sunday 26 February 2012

The answer, my friend, is... ?? (Part 3)

In this post, I'll drag the debate a little nearer home and look at the specific proposals for wind farms to the north of Milton Keynes, and then open it up again to see how another community tackles the issue. Think of it as"local, focal and vocal"

There are currently 7 turbines operating for MK Wind Farm Ltd at Petsoe End, approximately eight miles from the centre of town. This went ahead despite vociferous protests from a local campaign group, BLEW (Bucks Lacks Enough Wind), and several appeals to higher authority.

In the pipeline, RWE Npower Renewables have submitted a planning application for 5 turbines at Haversham, four miles from the centre of town. The local action group opposing this is Stop Haversham Wind Farm.

Planning notification displayed in Haversham village
North west of the above site, Gamesa Energy UK have submitted an application to erect up to 8 turbines north of the village of Alderton, ten miles from the centre of Milton Keynes. Opposition for this farm comes from the Tove Action Group and I drive passed their protest signs on my way to work.

Moving east from here, and eight miles from MK, Ecotricity's Stoke Heights development proposes 15 turbines just south of Salcey Forest. The Save Our Salcey group's website was unavailable as I wrote this, so here's a link to the story in one of the local papers.

And finally, RWE have been granted planning permission, in controversial circumstances, for another wind farm of 12 turbines at Nun Wood,  which is 11 miles from MK. The opposition group, BLOT, fought a six year campaign to no avail, though an appeal to the High Court is likely. The Planning Inspectorate overturned the decision of the 3 local authorities concerned, a scant 24 hours before the Localism Bill was given Royal Assent. This Bill would have prevented the overturning of the local authority decision.

But surely there must be more to wind turbines than Big Money and NIMBYism? Well yes there is. And for a good example, look no further than Orkney (OK, that's quite far, I'll admit). Community Power Orkney (CPO) picked up a SURF award this week for Best Practice in Community Regeneration. CPO helps remote island communities to develop sustainable economic projects, like the generation of electricity, to bring in much-needed income. The difference here is that the wind turbines are community-owned and the benefits are local. That's not to say that there aren't concerns in Orkney, especially as the landscape of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Heart of Neolithic Orkney is so special. So there is a balance to be struck, between the needs of the people within the locality of the turbines and the need for more sustainable power generation.

Remember how we've been doing it unsustainably for decades?

Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, East Midlands
Now that's a real reason to whinge about your back yard.


holdingmoments said...

Still don't like them.

I can imagine if all these are built surrounding MK, one very windy day MK could potentially be launched into space, and......hmmm, maybe not so bad after all.

(you've got that 'orrible word verification thing. 'ard to read sometimes)

Imperfect and Tense said...

Keith, As with everything we do, there will be unintended consequences, for sure. MK's still not on your Christmas card list then?

Have I? It is a nightmare, isn't it. I end up asking for another option over and over again until I find one I can read. I will try and remove it.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Wow, there are quite a number of various places with proposed wind farms. Why so few at each location? Altamont Pass not too far from where I live in CA, USA has close to 5,000 turbines. Now, that's a true wind farm, killing thousands of birds each year to boot. The acronyms for the various opposition groups makes me laugh... BLEW, SHaWF, TAG, SOS, BLOT. I'll have to read about SURF when I have more time. Thanks, Graeme, for finally doing this " blowing in the wind" series of posts.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Why so few? We're a small island (Bill Bryson got that right!). Effectively, these individual plots will make up a larger 'farmed' area. 5ooo!? Jings!

Good point, Katie, I wonder what Bob Dylan would make of it all?