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B O L T B L O G
8th January 2013
Well, it's taken long enough. perhaps the developers thought BOLT would go away if they waited long enough, but after their ridiculous 'exhibition' last March they've finally withdrawn the original application and put in a new application for a four turbine windfarm substantially unaltered from their original ill-conceived plan other than by a little cosmetic moving of turbines - frankly making the plan even worse, because three of them are now within topple distance of the road.
The planning application number on the Kirklees Planning Portal is 2012/93935
You'll need to quote the planning number on any and all objection letters. Please write. You only have THREE WEEKS! But if you're reading this in February and think you've missed out on complaining as long as the application has not yet come up before the committee, it's still worth sending your complain in.
15th March 2012
Yes, it's finally happened. The developers have finally come up with a new wind farm plan for Birdsedge, based on the original one - so not much will have changed. Yes, they may have redued the height slightly, but a 10 metre height reduction will make very little difference to the impact these monster turbines will have on housing, the school, the church and the safety of passing cars and pedestrians. They may also have juggled the positioning slightly - but the land which is available to them means they can't set the planned turbines back far enugh to significantly reduce the effect on the village.
And the introduction of a new plan means we all have to go back to the beginning with a new period of public consultation and a new plan of action for your team from Birdsedge and District Opposition to Lage Turbines.
We'll be calling on you for a new letter writing campaign, to lobby your local councillors, for contributions to the fighting fund and to spread the word.
Watch this space...
21st November 2010
Comment on the Kirklees letter
Thew BOLT committee doesn't really know what's coming next. Since this email is on public record we've asked Kirklees to let us know PRE's reaction and intentions and we're waiting for the next move. We can't afford to get complacent. PRE may come back with an amended application. Keep checking back here for more news.
21st November 2010
Kirklees letter to the Wind Farm developers, PRE.
Sent: 15 October 2010 17:10
To: 'Wilson, Mark(Environmental Generation, Newcastle)'
Cc: Sarah Bird
Subject: Birds Edge wind farm proposals
I am away for 3 weeks after today - returning on the 8th November.
Bearing in mind the provisional committee date in early December, I
wanted to brief you as to where our assessment is at before I go, so that
you are up to date and can think about how you want to proceed with the
planning application. Please note that these comments are intended to be
an informal guide at this stage and are without prejudice to the final
recommendation. I will however be obliged to place this e-mail on the
I firstly attach the provisional comments from our Environmental Service
officer. As the case officer, I consider this to be the main issue in
assessing this application, as it is likely to have the most serious
consequences if we get it wrong. As a result of these comments (also
pending the final comments) the recommendation would be likely to be one
of refusal based on current evidence and the guidance we see as being
relevant to the assessment of this case. Further information is however
requested, and the final comments will also contain views on shadow
The second most important issue in my opinion is that of potential impact
on the amenities of nearby residents. Under the planning system, nobody
has a right to a view from a particular property as you will be aware.
However having carefully assessed the site, the photomontages and the
views of many residents, I am heading towards the conclusion that the
impact of T3 on the south western part of Birds Edge village, north and
south of Birds Edge Lane would be unacceptable in that the scale, close
proximity and disadvantageous topography would create a severely
oppressive outlook for residents and users of other community facilities,
such as the school. The impact of T1 would also be of concern in relation
to the hamlet and other scattered properties within 4 to 500 m to north
and west, although because of topography this is still serious but not quite
as alarming as the impact of T3.
Related to this: landscape impact. I enclose the comments received from
our Landscape architects. I fully appreciate that landscape impact is a
tricky subject, and can produce varying, ofte subjective opinions,
dependent on the personal views of individuals in terms of the visual
merits of wind turbines. However in assessing both the ES Section on
Landscape together with my colleagues' comments, I provisionally
conclude that the turbines would have an unacceptable landscape impact,
principally because of their size in relation to the character of landscape,
topography and scattered settlements within which they sit. I would refer
to the comments in the ES which concludes that nearby viewpoints /
settlements would experience "substantial adverse effects", which
referring back to the definition of this, it is stated as being "dominant
elements within the landscape, overwhelming surrounding landscape
features." I consider this latter statement sums the situation in relation to
these proposals: at 110 m high, these turbines would overwhelm the
surrounding landscape, particularly in relation to short range views (say
within 1 or 2km) where the scale of the landscape and its individual
elements can be appreciated more. I agree with my colleagues in relation
to having lesser concerns about cumulative landscape impact, as this
affects more medium to long range views, and hence the wider landscape
is better able to absorb the scale of the proposals and their cumulative
impacts, particularly given the nearby existing consented wind turbines
within the Barnsley Borough (Incidentally, I have yet to receive any
indication of the views of the proposals from Barnsley Council or the Peak
District National Park authority). As you are aware from the consultation
response, Natural England are concerned about the potential impact on
the Peak Park, although I have yet to form a view on whether or not the
Local Planning Authority agrees with this opinion or not.
In terms of heritage matters, I enclose the comments received in the last
few days from English Heritage, and preliminary comments from the
Council's Conservation & Design officer.
In terms of Green Belt policy, given the concerns raised and the potential
alternative forms / scale of development & sites available, I consider it
unlikely that a conclusion can be formed that accepts there are very
special circumstances in this particular case, notwithstanding the wider
environmental benefits (as per guidance in PPS 22). Whilst this form
renewable energy can and has been accepted in principle in the Green
Belt, and could clearly be accepted in the right location, with the right size
within Kirklees, it is the scale and position of the turbines in this particular
case that are a problem in this case.
I also attach highway comments x 2. I endorse the majority of the
comments and questions but wish to undertake further research on topple
distance / blade failure / ice throw issues before concluding my
assessment on behalf of the LPA. We have received a huge number of
objections on these issues and given the proximity of the turbines to
roads and houses / settlements, this is an issue which must be taken
Finally, I also enclose other consultations received from Atkins and
Outstanding consultations at this point are therefore: KMC Conservation &
Design; KMC Environmental Services (final response); Peak Park; Barnsley
Council; KMC Environment Unit (Ecology); KMC Planning Policy.
Please let me know if you would like to arrange a meeting in early
November to discuss any of the above issues prior to the committee
report being finalised. It may be that you wish to extend the
determination period, and with enough notice there would be no reason
why we could not postpone the provisional Committee date.
Nick Willock MRTPI
Major Developments Officer
Strategic Investment Service - Development Management Group Kirklees
( 01484 414957
14th March 2010
Tilting at Turbines
The Birdsedge Windfarm Debate Continues
Bolt guest blogger Jacey Bedford writes:
Windfarm developers Pure Renewable Energies and their surveyors Parsons Brinkerhoff carried out public consultations at Birdsedge on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th March, for the project they are calling 'The Dearne Head Windfarm', by mounting an exhibition in Birdsedge Church schoolroom. It says much for the passion of the anti-turbine faction that volunteers stood outside the exhibition in the cold and the drizzle giving out leaflets from BOLT, the Birdsedge and District Opposition to Large Turbines.
The debate goes like this: Residents want to know why, when European guidelines recommend that turbines should not be sited closer than 2 kilometres to housing, PRE has come up with a scheme to build them on greenbelt, within 500 metres of a village centre, community hall, church and school. PRE say that England isn't signed up to that particular piece of EU legislation. Besides, they say they can't find any land in England which is more than 2k from housing. Residents say if that is the case (and they don't believe it is) that this proves that on-shore windfarms are not the right kind of renewable energy for this island. PRE says residents will have to take that up with the government. Thanks, PRE.
Residents say the four turbines are too close to the village. At a blade tip height of 120 metres and a hill height of 35 metres, the tip of the turbine blades will loom over the school and housing estate at 155 metres. For comparison, Blackpool Tower is 158 metres and Emley Moor transmitter is 329 metres. So the four turbines are likely to be almost as tall as Blackpool Tower with a blade diameter of 80 metres and almost half the height of Emley Moor. PRE actually agrees that there will be a 'loom' factor, but say that residents will have to put up with that.
Residents say that the turbines will be so close that noise will be an issue, both the swish from the blades and low frequency rumble. PRE says noise will not be an issue. Residents say that studies have proved that noise can be an issue at up to 1.5 kilometres. PRE say that if noise is an issue after the fact they will slow the turbines or stop them to reduce noise at specific rimes – i.e. when people are sleeping. Residents say if PRE is willing to admit they'll make adjustments if there is noise after the fact, that they can't in all honesty claim (before the fact) that the turbines will not be a noise nuisance. There is obviously a considerable element of doubt. Show us the numbers!
Residents say light flicker will be an issue at times of low sun. PRE say they will turn the turbines off when the sun is low enough to cause flicker through the blades. Residents say that this proves the turbines are close enough to produce the strobe-effect flickering, within the village boundary, that can trigger migraines or epileptic seizures in susceptible people, and then ask. 'How can switching off help maximise the turbine's electricity producing potential?'
PRE says a full ecological survey has been done by Parsons Brinkerhoff. Residents ask if they can see it. PRE says. Not until the actual planning application has been made – at which time the data will become public. Residents say that this doesn't give them much time to formulate opinions and objections since PRE have been working on this application since 2006 and residents weren't aware of it until mid 2009.
It's a poor show. This is supposed to be a public consultation, but PRE's understanding of the term is very different from mine. I asked them the direct question: If all the villagers say they don't want the windfarm, will you go away and leave us alone? They said no. In other words their take on public consultation is more like: We're going to show you our plans for your village and your views will not be taken into account.
I'm surprised there are as many people at the exhibition as there were. PRE says they've delivered 1000 leaflets to invite people, but I don't know where they've gone to. They were not even delivered to all the houses in the village. Park Lane was missed out, so were the Park Head Farm houses, and so was the house aling Windmill Lane - the one on the same road as the proposed development. The BOLT (opposition) group did as much, if not more, to publicise the exhibition than PRE did. PRE's own leaflets only went out on Monday for a Friday event.
It was also a poor exhibition. There were seven or eight panels of mostly general text about how wind-power is supposed to save the planet, with few illustrations. There were a couple of maps that were so small they were next to useless and four mock up photos of what the turbines would look like from Ingbirchworth, Royd Moor and Shelley etc, which obviously minimised the size of the turbines by the distance. On the Royd Moor illustration because of the perspective the turbines looked to be a similar size to the Royd Moor ones when, in fgact, they'll be three times the height. That illustration also missed out the three turbines that have just had planning permission from Barnsley council across the road from the Royd Moor site, therefore failing to show cumulative effect.
There was no mock up illustration of what the turbines would look like from Birdsedge and High Flatts. I expect PRE didn't have a stand tall enough!
There were also no hard facts about noise measurements or environmental issues save for the fact that we needn't worry. Great plaititude. We're very worried. There were lots of quietly angry people at the exhibition (I won't call it a consultation) on Friday afternoon and in three hours I heard no residents speak up for the windfarm project, but many spoke up against. Residents are definitely going to fight this windfarm development when it comes before the Kirklees planners. If European guidelines stipulate a 2 kilometre stand-off from housing it's for a reason.
The actual planning application for the windfarm won't be presented to Kirklees until April, but PRE have already been consulting with the Kirklees planning office for four years. [UPDATE - THE PLANNING APPLICATION IS IN. YOU HAVE THREE WEEKS TO OBJECT - STARTING MONDAY 26TH JULY. Planning number: 2010/91751]
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