18 May 2010

Latest on Ecotricity turbines

Last year Ecotricity proposed a site for a wind energy development between the M5 motorway and the A38 in the parish of Stinchcombe (see here). The site was identified as being able to accommodate a maximum of eight wind turbines - see here my previous blog - as many will know Tory and Labour councillors on the Development Control Committee rejected an application for a temporary wind monitoring mast on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the setting of the Cotswolds AONB.

Photo: Danish turbines - a country that has turbines seemingly every few miles along their coast - Britain remains third from bottom in the Europe renewable energy charts - only Malta and Luxembourg are worse!

This rejection was against the advice of Stroud District Council’s own Planning Officers. The visual impact on the Cotswolds AONB appears to be an odd reason to refuse a temporary structure less than 9 inches wide, outside of the AONB. Here is what Ecotricity commented: "Worse still, on the same day the same committee approved an application for a bigger mast actually in the AONB - where the purpose was not for the future building of windmills, yet they turn down our application for a smaller mast outside of the AONB - on visual impact grounds - on a site where we say we do want to build windmills. We’re sure that is something the committee will struggle to explain following the current planning appeal." Indeed the Planning Inspector allowed the mast.

Since then as part of Ecotricity's application process, they have undertaken a number of studies including ecological surveys, assessments of landscape and cultural heritage features, as well as consultation with the local community. These assessments and consultations have influenced the design of the wind park and, as a result, they will shortly be submitting a planning application to build four wind turbines at Berkeley Vale.

These turbines will generate enough green energy to power an estimated 7,185 homes – that’s 16% of the households in the Stroud District. Prior to submitting the application to Stroud District Council they will be holding a public exhibition about the proposal on Thursday 20th May at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Berkeley Road, GL13 9HD from 12 Noon until 7pm. If you can’t make it on the 20th May the exhibition will move to Dursley Library and will be up from Tuesday 1st June to Monday 14th June.

Here is what Ecotricity say: "In response to future effects of climate change and government policies pushing for more than 20% of our electricity to come from renewable by 2020, projects like Berkeley Vale Wind Park are essential if we’re to reach ambitious renewable energy targets. Onshore wind energy continues to be the cost effective and viable of all the renewable technologies, with enough potential wind energy in the UK to power the whole country. Further information on the proposal, including a site plan and photomontages are provided at www.ecotricity.co.uk/berkeley-vale."

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