I view with dismay how your counties of the South West are being ravaged by the desire of others for you to solve the world’s climate change problems and would like to express the following opinion.
I am not surprised that the wind farm development at Fullabrook Down in North Devon was passed. Cornwall has been an easy target for developers and now, with government blessing, the race is on to ruin Devon which, until now, has resisted invasion. The region’s other counties do not seem to be having the same problem saving the world nor do the rich counties of Berkshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire, but who would wish this sort of thing on them anyway?
By applying for a wind farm over 50 megawatts (MW), the developers bypassed the local planning committee and it was looked at by a government inspector. The outcome of this inquiry should send a clear message to the people of the South West: no matter where you live, you and your way of life are not safe from this sort of development.
One of the problems for our ministers, planners and inspectors is that – unless they take the time to do independent research – the technical data they are presented with will have been supplied either directly by the British Wind Energy Association or from an agency which gets it from the same source. While the public begins to wise up to wind power, the Government still sees what it wants to.
Recently the Devon Twin Moors action group had Npower’s knuckles rapped for exaggerating the power output and CO2 reduction from wind power it had publicised. They said ‘it’s not our fault we got it from BWEA!’
So the bottom line is that for all wind farm applications, our planners and councillors are bombarded with misleading information from wind farm companies and the many renewable energy agencies, telling them how the South West must meet some unattainable CO2 targets and then implying that it must be done because it’s EU law. Community Windpower Ltd says that if it put 20 turbines on Davidstow Moor, 113,000 tons of CO2 will be saved every year and 28,000 homes powered. Well, the figures are more like 50,000 tonnes and 25,000 homes, because the most optimistic average annual power it can expect is 13.5 MW per hour. Similarly, Ecotricity says its proposed wind farm at Titch Barrow will save 30,000 tonnes of CO2 and power 5,000 homes but realistic figures say only 8,136 tones of CO2 will be saved and 4,000 homes powered on average.
None of this seems to matter though, as, according to Matthew Spencer of Regen South West, the Fullabrook development will make Devon greener than Cornwall. No matter how excited he is, I don’t think the people of the South West want to be in some competition to see who can upset the most people and ruin the maximum area of our countryside with wind farms just to give him brownie points and line the pockets of the turbine people, some of whom sit on his board.
The South West region has about 110 wind turbines – most of them in Cornwall. Cornwall’s CO2 emissions are 10% of the South West’s, compared to 21% for Devon, so even when this new wind farm is built there will be cries of ‘there is not enough being done by the South West to save the planet’.
Matthew Spencer said that the people of Devon would come to see this as a feather in their cap. Well, the several hundred people who objected may not be thinking of feathers or putting whatever comes to mind in their cap.
Mr. G. Pickering
24 October 2007
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