Since writing my last piece I thought that really I should see if the developer for the proposed ‘Davidstow Community Windfarm’ had a website as I am keen to be fair in my argument. Like most I have my prejudices but do have some ability to look at matters very objectively and also I can be very forensic in my analysis.
So if you click here you can see what this scheme is all about from the developers point of view. Now the saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words and I would suggest that with a critical eye a map can also be worth a thousand words. So looking down the links on the left hand side of the page my eyes lit up when I saw the words ‘Interactive Map’ and I quickly went to it. Very interesting it turns out to be! On clicking to launch the map you are first presented with four locations outside the delineated area of development on which you can click to see how the windfarm would look after erection compared with the same view now. You might think these would be labelled 1, 2, 3 and 4. Wrong! They are shown as Viewpoints 3, 4, 8 and 13. H’m, no indication where there may be other viewpoints. Strange that! Number 13 at Showery Tor is the nearest of these 4 viewpoints and looking over Crowdy Reservoir it’s not surprising that the windfarm is very visible. Very honest these windfarm people! Or are they. My eyesight might not be the best but I can’t see the blades in the ‘predicted view’. Perhaps they are turning too fast! They will add considerably to the height of the structures of course. And Showery Tor is very close indeed to the National Trust owned Rough Tor, Cornwall’s second highest hill. It’s worth mentioning at this point that Davidstow is not far from the Delabole Windfarm (Britain’s first) where plans are afoot to upgrade to much larger turbines and so there would be a sort of cumulative affect to one’s view, particularly from the ‘Westdowns’ area I would have thought (Viewpoint 8).
From this page one can now click on a close up view of the site plan where you can note exactly how the layout for the 20 turbines appears. But it’s when you go to ‘Show Zone of Visual Influence’ that the developer’s case can be really shot to pieces. Using four different colours on this very small scale map they show the following – 1 to 5 turbines fully visible, 6 to 10 turbines fully visible, 11 to 15 turbines fully visible, 16 to 20 turbines fully visible (my emphasis throughout). I never knew how important a little word ‘fully’ was! A cursory glance at the map might make you wonder just what the fuss is about. I wouldn’t argue that the number of locations at which you can see the full height from base to tip of blade might be limited but what about the top 70% or 50% of the structure? You have to be absolutely forensic when looking at any developer’s evidence I find.
I don’t live many miles from the granite mound of Kit Hill, a Country Park, from which a great swathe of East Cornwall and West Devon is visible. As existing windfarms are visible from there then I have to suspect that much of the Davidstow scheme could also be seen. It is said that the very top of the new turbines will be pretty well level with ‘Brown Willy’ and I’m sure that eminence can be seen from far more places than the four colours on the map.
If I lived near Davidstow I would go through this website with a magnifying glass and read every word. Alas time is too short for me but I’ve seen enough to convince me that this scheme should be turned down.
Posted by Brian in the Tamar Valley
2 December 2007
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