Romney Marsh Press Release in response to Npower (Rheinisch-Westfalisches Elecktrizitatswer)
15 May, 2007
Romney Marsh residents were shocked this week to receive letters from Npower indicating that the developers intended to start work immediately on the very controversial Romney Marsh wind farm.
The scheme was formally opposed at Public Inquiry by the County and District Councils, by RSPB and English Nature and a group of concerned local residents, all of whom value the very special qualities of the Marsh.
Legal advice indicates that the decision to grant permission for this wind farm development is in breach of wildlife legislation. As a result of this a group of concerned local residents have mounted a legal challenge which is at present before the Court of Appeal. The hearing date for this legal challenge is fixed for 20 June.
Please see the statements below:
Statement from Dr John Constable, Policy & Research Director for the Renewable Energy Foundation
The electricity regulator Ofgem, which acts to defend public interest, recently demanded the abolition of the £32bn subsidy which is the driving force for the current rush to build wind farms. Ofgem stated that the present wind farm subsidy system was wasteful, suppressed innovation in renewables, and produced extremely expensive emissions reductions.
The Energy White paper is due to be published shortly, and it is likely that the DTI will introduce separate categories of subsidy, for various renewable energy technologies. It is widely expected that the current huge subsidy for onshore wind will be reduced. As these subsidy changes are likely to come into effect in about two years time, wind farm developers are in a frantic rush to get their schemes built and running by the deadline, in order to qualify for the current hyperprofitable subsidy scheme.
Statement from Lord (Sandy) Bruce-Lockhart OBE, Chairman of the Local Government Association and former Leader of Kent County Council
The Npower windfarm proposal was opposed by Kent County Council and Shepway District Council, on the grounds that it would totally destroy the unique landscape of Romney Marsh, its countryside and its heritage; and on the grounds that it would be in breach of UK and European special wildlife protection status.
Since then Ofgem has exposed the scale of Government subsidy that has been used to keep the windfarm industry financially afloat.
With an Energy White Paper due, and with real concerns arising about private developers trying to overrule landscape and wildlife protection laws, it is unthinkable that this Npower proposal can continue.
Statement from Councillor Peter Jones, Leader of East Sussex County Council
“The wind farm development from Npower or to use their proper name, Rheinisch-Westfalisches Elecktrizitatswer, is totally unwelcome in this area. Every local council at County, District and Parish level has expressed the wish of local people that this development is not wanted. And yet this company seeks to impose its grossly inefficient wind turbines in a way that will desecrate the very special landscape and wildlife of the Marsh.
This German company, RWE is exploiting every loophole to secure a huge UK public subsidy for their wind farm development which will be taken as a stealth tax from UK electricity consumers’ bills.
Statement from Philip Merricks MBE, local farmer and manager of Romney Marsh Nature Reserve
When the developers, Npower, approached me and asked me to sign a contract to permit them to build part of the wind farm on our farmland, it became evident to me what a scam this scheme is in both financial and energy terms. The contract showed that the development was all about PR, spin and money and not about reliable and dependable renewable energy generation. It took little time for me to understand that the developers were quite happy to ruin both the landscape and the wildlife of this very special area of the Marsh, in pursuit of the renewable energy subsidy.