|The new turbine near Westrip, Randwick|
The address of the Stroud Planning portal is below.
By entering the application numbers (below) under the Simple Search criteria it is possible to lodge public comments on line:
S.12/0255/FUL Wind Turbine At Mounteneys Farm Chase Lane, Wickwar, Kingswood, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire
S.12/0229/FUL Wind Turbine Cherry Rock Farm, Wickwar Road, Kingswood, Gloucestershire
Type of Comment: Support Proposal
I wish to give my full support to this proposal.
I cannot stress enough the importance we need to place on urgently developing renewable energy supplies. The projects will provide a significant contribution to the district targets for renewable energy production which Stroud District Council has under the new national planning framework; see (i) below.
The relatively small size of this turbine and siting means the visual impact will be minimal. It also means that there is no need for additional pylons as the electricity will connect straight into the existing grid. The transformer is also located within the tower. The development footprint is small, and during operation, pasture will be reinstated up to the turbine base, allowing farming to continue as at present. I understand the maximum height of the turbine has already been reduced in response to local feedback at an early stage in the project.
The reduced size and location of the turbine gives rise to no significant impacts re noise or ecology. I also understand some research will be carried out regarding bats to improve our knowledge about the impact of turbines and if necessary make some adaptations. Although it is worth noting that this is an area of extremely low bat activity.
There are only 3 properties within 750m (including the applicants property) for the Mounteney’s turbine proposal and none of these will have direct views of the turbine. There are also very few properties within 750m of Cherry Rock which will have direct views of the turbine due to the presence of the railway embankment and woodland screening. There are therefore only a handful of properties that will experience a landscape and visual effect in relation to either single turbine, or cumulatively if both are developed.
Lastly the community fund means the community will benefit through the annual donation from this turbine.
(i) The new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came into effect on March 27th 2012. The NPPF states that local planning authorities (LPAs) should now support renewable energy projects (para 97 – detailed in extracts below). There is now a predisposition in favour of sustainable developments, such as Community Scale Wind turbine projects. As Greg Clark MP says in the foreword to the NPPF “Development that is sustainable should go ahead, without delay”.
Community Scale Wind projects such as those proposed provide the best energy return on energy invested and the best energy yield per £ of Government Feed in Tariff spent, returning 3X that spent on solar panels on roofs. With the proposed scale and design of the development at the proposed locations, the environmental effects are minimal and fully reversible, unlike the effects of climate change which the project is intended to mitigate.
The Chancellor’s recent budget statement also identified “the 'crucial' role renewable energy plays in our energy supply”.
Extracts from the new NPPF most relevant to renewable energy (March 2012)
97. To help increase the use and supply of renewable and low carbon energy, local planning authorities should recognise the responsibility on all communities to contribute to energy generation from renewable or low carbon sources. They should:
have a positive strategy to promote energy from renewable and low carbon sources;
design their policies to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development while ensuring that adverse impacts are addressed satisfactorily, including cumulative landscape and visual impacts;
consider identifying suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy sources, and supporting infrastructure, where this would help secure the development of such sources;
support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy, including developments outside such areas being taken forward through neighbourhood planning; and
identify opportunities where development can draw its energy supply from decentralised, renewable or low carbon energy supply systems and for co-locating potential heat customers and suppliers.
98. When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should:
not require applicants for energy development to demonstrate the overall need for renewable or low carbon energy and also recognise that even small-scale projects provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions; and
approve the application if its impacts are (or can be made) acceptable.
Once suitable areas for renewable and low carbon energy have been identified in plans, local planning authorities should also expect subsequent applications for commercial scale projects outside these areas to demonstrate that the proposed location meets the criteria used in identifying suitable areas.
99. Local Plans should take account of climate change over the longer term, including factors such as flood risk, coastal change, water supply and changes to biodiversity and landscape. New development should be planned to avoid increased vulnerability to the range of impacts arising from climate change. When new development is brought forward in areas which are vulnerable, care should be taken to ensure that risks can be managed through suitable adaptation measures, including through the planning of green infrastructure.
NB: There is a footnote to para 97, which states “In assessing the likely impacts of potential wind energy development when identifying suitable areas, and in determining planning applications for such development, planning authorities should follow the approach set out in the National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy Infrastructure (ie. EN-3 of July ’11, not PPS22).
To read the new NPPF in full, see http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/2116950.pdf