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7/8 March 2005

Mar 8 2005

Plan for 300 turbines next to farm

By Lee-Ann Fullerton

A FAMILY who have spent years renovating their dream home face having 300 wind turbines built next to them.

Anita Mulders, 42, and her husband Jerry, have spent thousands of pounds turning a derelict house in Ayrshire into an idyllic country home.

But planning applications for 10 wind farms have been lodged with the council.

The couple bought their Dalmellington farmhouse in 1997.

They moved from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, after falling in love with the unspoilt views of the Ayrshire hills.

They spent eight years converting it from a derelict shell into a home for their two boys, Jan, 19, and Ross, 16.

Anita said: 'My husband Jerry and I had always craved space, countryside and peace and quiet.

I was a teacher and Jerry worked long hours selling packaging and had to travel a lot for his job.

'We needed to make some changes to improve our lives.

'We found our dream home and I knew I had found the place where I wanted my family to live.

'We knew it would take a lot of work, and for six years we worked on our home.'

Anita and Jerry only found out about the proposed wind farms after they met two environment surveyors near their home.

When they investigated it further, they found there were several developments planned.

Anita said: 'The company, who at the time were planning 150 turbines, told us not to worry.

'A year later we heard about another proposal and every month we discovered more.

'Some of these turbines are over 400 feet tall and one turbine can make as much noise as a running car, so 300 would be like living next to a motorway.

'Having these massive industrial structures within a mile of our house would be unbearable.'

One of the wind-farm sites would be situated just yards from the Mulders' house and would cover 30 square miles from Dalmellington to Kyle and Carsphairn.

Plans were lodged by energy firm Amec in November last year.

The Scottish Executive are considering them and will launch a public consultation in the coming weeks with a decision expected by the end of the year.

If the farm gets the go-ahead, construction on the site will begin in 2007.

The turbines would produce enough power to supply eight per cent of Scotland's population with 300 megawatts of power.

The full interview with the Mulders family appears in She magazine.

#Jack McConnell yesterday launched a set of green guidelines for government and promised a new level of commitment to the environment.



Wind farm bid fuels a storm

LABOUR energy minister Mike O'Brien claims that 90 per cent of people in Greater Manchester support wind farms for producing electricity.

But deputy Commons leader and local Labour MP Phil Woollas is definitely one of those who doesn't.

The split has become apparent in a row over attempts to encourage wind power in the north west.

Against the background of an application to build seven more 350ft turbines near Saddleworth, Mr O'Brien told the M.E.N. that 90 per cent of people in Greater Manchester backed the production of more electricity from "renewable energy" such as wind, solar, tidal and wave power.

However, Woolas, says he will oppose the plan and appeal to the government to halt the scheme.

It has been put forward by United Utilities for Denshaw Moor.

Local parish councillor Ken Hulme, who chaired a protest meeting, said he was surprised at the force of Mr Woolas' opposition and his commitment to take the fight to the government if the scheme gets planning approval.


But Mr O'Brien said: " We find once the turbines are built, people don't grow to love them but they gradually accept them and support them. We believe that 66 per cent of people would approve of a wind farm in their area."

Asked about the MP for Oldham East's opposition to the Saddleworth Moors plan, the minister said his message to his colleague was that there is a planning process. "We want wind turbines located only in areas which are appropriate."

He said he could not comment on the case in Saddleworth because he may be called on to make a decision on the planning application.

"The planning process needs to be robust. The opinions of local people need to be heard and they need to know they have a real opportunity to set out their case.

"Not only that, if it is an inappropriate place to put them, they should not be put there."

Mr O'Brien predicted a revolution in energy production.

"We have to get away from the old idea that we have large-scale power stations sitting somewhere in a remote place.

"We're going to have energy built closer to us - either solar panels on our roof, reducing our electricity bills, or, in 20 years time, I suspect we'll all have a wind turbine on our roof."

The Dept for Trade and Industry is touring the north west to spread the message about renewable energy, calling at Bury and Rochdale.




Charge cap for remote green power

A hike in prices which could have hit wind, wave and tidal power development in Scotland is to be limited.

The UK Government has intervened to try to ensure that projects on the islands are not affected by an increase in National Grid connection charges.

But it is not clear what will happen to developments on the mainland.

UK Energy Minister Mike O'Brien will outline plans on Tuesday for a cap on charges in the islands when Scotland joins the National Grid next month.

From 1 April electricity supply will no longer be controlled by the major Scottish generating companies.

The electricity regulator Ofgem wants to encourage generation close to consumers.

However, that would leave producers in the Highlands and Islands paying considerably more than the south of England.

The minister is to limit the charges for renewable generators in the islands, as well as possibly for the far north.

Speaking at a meeting with Ofgem and the companies involved in the project, Mr O'Brien said: "For Scottish consumers, opening up competition will provide greater choice and see the sort of downward pressure on prices previously enjoyed by consumers in England and Wales."

He added: "By limiting the charges renewable generators will have to pay to transmit their electricity to customers across Britain we're ensuring, at this early stage, that remote location does not stand in the way of attracting the necessary investment."

'Level playing field'

Scottish Executive Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson said the move was a boost to the renewables sector, including fledgling wave and tidal projects.

Sandy Cumming, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, welcomed the move as very encouraging.

"It provides an opportunity for a level playing field for generators based in the Highlands and Islands. It is particularly good news for island-based generators," he said.

The executive has set a target to produce 40% of Scotland's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.



A Mighty Wind
Source: Evening Gazette - Middlesbrough
Publication date: 2005-03-05
Arrival time: 2005-03-07

Wind turbines taller than Middlesbrough's biggest office block will soon be going up close to an exclusive Teesside housing estate.

Council planners have approved plans for seven wind turbines, to be built on land 5km east of Sedgefield near the northern end of Wynyard Woodland Park, formerly known as the Castle Eden Walkway, earlier this week.

At the meeting, developer Wind Prospect said when operational the seven turbines would provide enough energy to provide power for 11,700 homes. There will also be a trust fund set up with cash generated by the wind farm which could be ploughed into projects to improve the area's environment or to fund energy efficiency schemes.

By generating green electricity the turbines will also save 55,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases being produced by power stations burning fossil fuels.

Each wind turbine tower will be 65m high and have a revolving 45m blade - making the total height 110m, 35m higher than Middlesbrough tower block Centre North East.

Construction should start by winter this year and the turbines should be generating power by October next year.

When it is up and running, the wind farm will be the North- east's biggest.

"Sedgefield now has an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the UK national targets for renewable energy," said Tim Matthews, development manager for Wind Prospect.

"These have themselves grown from our commitments to reduce carbon emissions under the Kyoto protocol and from our recognition that as a nation the UK is no longer self-sufficient or secure in its energy generation capability."

Objector Tim Twedell uses the forest walkway and says it is one of the few unspoiled places in Teesside.

He had appealed to Sedgefield Council planning committee to turn down the plan.

"We're very disappointed - especially as there is no right of appeal," said Mr Twedell.

"In don't think people will be aware these things are coming until they are going up and they start having an effect on house prices.

"Although the Walkway Wind Farm is a nice name people will soon have to cope with the fact they're 110m high."

The site was highlighted as an ideal spot for a wind farm in a renewable energy strategy drawn up by the North East Assembly in October 2003.

Publication date: 2005-03-05



 Winds of change for Granton scrap yard


FIRST they brought us the Scottish Parliament with its "think-bubble" windows and "upside down boat" roofs.

Now city architects RMJM have unveiled plans for another Edinburgh landmark which is likely to raise eye-brows.

A twin tower complex, which would generate its own power using dozens of wind turbines, has been designed by the parliament architects as a centrepiece for the new waterfront. Almost 50 wind turbines would be "hung" between the two towers of the £21.5 million "Eco-tower".

The turbines in the 85-metre-high building would generate enough electricity for everyone living in the building, with any surplus power sold back to the national grid.

Leading Edinburgh architectural practice RMJM has drawn up plans to build the twin towers on land which is currently a scrap yard in Granton.

The architects are confident the turbines would produce so little noise they would not disturb residents.

The flats would also be linked to the national grid for times when winds die down.

Waterfront Edinburgh, which owns the William Waugh scrap yard in West Harbour Road, is understood to have asked RMJM to design the scheme for the site in Granton.

The development firm is expected to look for a house builder to join it in a partnership to build the tower.

Environmentalists have welcomed the plans as a dramatic way of improving the Capital’s green credentials.

RMJM director Tony Kettle, who has developed the designs for the building, said: "Edinburgh is a beautiful city with many historical landmark structures of significant scale.

"In the redevelopment of the waterfront there is the potential to create new structures which say something about the culture of our generation.

"Our concept for a sustainable tower, which uses renewable energy, expresses just that and is a clear signal for the future."

An energy study has shown that just one small turbine mounted 30 metres high would produce enough electricity to meet the annual requirements for one flat in the building.

Dr Dan Barlow, head of research at Friends of the Earth, said: "Whether this is the right location for this building is a decision that needs to be taken in consultation with local residents.

"However, the idea of embedding renewable energy production within building projects like this is to be welcomed.

"It is critical, however, that building energy saving and energy production systems into housing design must become the norm rather than the preserve of one-off projects," he added.

"In fact, proposals, like those for thousands of new homes at the Edinburgh Forthside, should be thrown out if no attempt is made to incorporate energy saving and renewable energy production into the scheme."

David McDonald, director of Edinburgh’s heritage watchdog the Cockburn Association, also gave his backing to the proposal, saying that the building could become an internationally recognised landmark for Scotland.

He said: "The concept of integrating wind power between the towers in this way is a thought-provoking and ground-breaking proposal.

"In the right place at the right time the building could be a technical achievement as important to Scotland and Edinburgh as the Forth Bridge."

RMJM has also drawn up a masterplan for nearby Leith Docks, where Forth Ports plans to oversee the building of up to 18,000 homes over the next 20 years.

Forth Ports is already investigating using wind and wave energy to produce electricity for its massive scheme.

The company hopes renewable energy technology will generate at least ten per cent of the Port of Leith’s electricity and reduce the reliance on the national grid.

The Scottish Executive aims to increase the country’s reliance on renewable energy so that by 2010 it is used to generate 18 per cent of Scotland’s electricity.

But protesters say wind power is inefficient and unreliable as an energy source and that it does not end the need for fossil fuels.





09:00 - 07 March 2005
Author, broadcaster and mountaineer Cameron McNeish has urged the Government not to blight the Highlands with giant wind turbines.

Mr McNeish, who is president of the Scottish Ramblers Association and also editor of the leading UK outdoors magazine, TGO (The Great Outdoors), said Prime Minister Tony Blair's support for renewable energy and Highland wind turbines was merely due to him signing up to the 1997 Kyoto agreement on global warming.

Speaking at the association's Scottish Council meeting in the Newton Hotel in Nairn, he said: "Nobody is going to want to come and visit the Highlands if they are dominated by these huge wind turbines."

He added that many of the large companies behind the proposals were motivated by considerable grants and subsidies.

"Countries such as Denmark and Germany, which have wind turbines, are now discovering that they are not efficient," said Mr McNeish.

He pointed out that 400 tonnes of concrete was required to make the base of a wind turbine, which meant even more damage would be done to the countryside by the vehicles and people carrying the materials to the sites.

He said he found it hypocritical that Mr Blair had objected to four 250ft turbines in his Sedgfield constituency, but found it acceptable that Lewis residents should endure hundreds of turbines more than 450ft high and stretching along a 55-mile corridor, and the Ardnamurchan community which may have to cope with Europe's biggest onshore windfarm of 500 turbines.

Mr McNeish also promised his support to a growing campaign against giant electricity pylons proposed to run from Ullapool to the central belt.

Scottish and Southern Energy is proposing to upgrade 140 miles of power line in Scotland on a route that cuts through 20 miles of the Cairngorms National Park. The 164ft pylons are double the size of current pylons, with some structures planned for previously untouched areas.

Mr McNeish said that underground cabling was essential to save the national park from being blighted.

He stressed that the association was not opposed to policies tackling climate change, but the policies had to be in areas which could accommodate development without detracting from the landscape, recreation biodiversity and cultural values.

Newly elected Scottish Ramblers Association chairman Chic Nash called for action by the Scottish Executive to enable designation of the Cairngorms as a World Heritage Site.

He said: "Since 1983 successive governments have recommended that the Cairngorms be put forward for world heritage designation. Nevertheless, virtually no real progress has been made in preparing a submission to the international bodies."




Oldham Evening Chronicle - Monday, 07 March, 105

Parties unite against windfarm

“WE will not be beaten.” That was the message from the Saddleworth Moors Action Group at the latest protest meeting to stop the construction of seven 350 ft high wind turbines on Denshaw Moor.

Hundreds of Saddleworth residents turned up to show their support at Friday’s meeting.

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas  said that the country was facing some very serious climate change problems and something would have to be done before it was too late.

He added: “The country can’t solve it’s energy problems without creating energy problems, but I was horrified when I heard about these proposals.”

The Labour MP vowed to do everything he could as a member of the Government to make sure that the turbines are not built.

He said: “No solution to the energy problem is pain free, but we must maintain a balance. We need strict planning laws to guide where these energy facilities can be built because the idea of putting these turbines in an area of beautiful countryside is appalling. Alternatives need to be developed.”

Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate Keith Chapman said a number of options could be explored that did not involve building wind farms.

He added: “It is very hard to reach the Government’s targets on energy, but we must look at the pros and cons of every alternative because there are many other very effective options out there.

“The idea of putting turbines in an area of such natural beauty like Saddleworth is wrong. They will affect everybody who has to look at them.”

Tony Dawson, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate, said that it was nice to see the focus back on turbines after months of campaigning about other issues such as the closure of Delph Library and the gritting cuts. He also said that he was not against windfarms in principle but did not believe that putting them on Denshaw Moor was the way forward.

He added: “Members of the planning committee will have to make a decision shortly so we need to keep up the pressure. There are powerful arguments to turn the application down and I still think we can win.”


Parish councillor Ken Hulme urged members of the Saddleworth Moors Action Group to crank up the campaign again and show Oldham Planning Committee the strength of feeling.

He added: “We can’t give up now — we have got an extremely strong planning argument and we have done the hard work. We need to hammer it home with public support behind us.”

The proposal is expected to be decided upon at next month’s Planning Committee and hundreds of protesters are expected to turn up to voice their objections.

Councillor Hulme added: “If we show that this is something that really matters and we turn out in big enough numbers, I think we will win. This is too important not to do everything we can.”





Couple appeal in wind farm battle

Last posted: Monday 7 March 2005 15:08

A COUPLE whose plans for a windfarm in a Bolton village were turned down have appealed against the decision.

Villagers spent 12 months fiercely protesting against the plans to build two 95 metre-high turbines on land off Broadhead Moor, Edgworth.

They thought they had won their campaign when Blackburn with Darwen Council refused the application in October. Councillors said the scheme was not in keeping with the area.

But now the applicants have appealed to government inspectors over that decision.

Angus and Julia Dootson, who live on part of Uglow Farm, want the right to build two wind turbines, a temporary mast, ancillary equipment and tracks on their land.

Cllr Colin Rigby, who represents Edgworth, said: "This is really disappointing because vast amounts of work went into proving these wind turbines are not suitable for Edgworth. The grounds for refusal on environmental grounds have not changed.

"Blackburn with Darwen Council went through a long and lengthy process when considering this windfarm and came to the conclusion that it was not suitable.

"We will fight to the very end to stop this windfarm and we will rally for the cause yet again."

One of the objectors Kathryn Rogers, of Edgworth, said: "We always knew there would be a chance they would appeal and they are exercising their right to do so.

"We'll reignite the fire and get the troops going again to fight these proposals which do not belong in our village."

Darwen MP Janet Anderson supported the villagers in their fight.

During their campaign, protesters marched through the village with banners and placards encouraging people to say no to the development.

Mr and Mrs Dootson submitted their planning application after being approached by UK wind farm owner, developer and operator National Wind Power in a government-backed scheme called WindWorks.

Members of the public are welcome to express their views on the plans by writing to: the Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/25 Hawk Ring, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN.

Three copies of each letter must be submitted by April 5. Quote reference 10/03/0689.