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Turbines’ impact unthinkably awful

I write to object most vehemently to the proposed installation of wind turbines at Silton, Dorset, for the following reasons:

1. Residents who live near wind turbines describe the noise as almost intolerable and “like Chinese water torture”.

2. The flicker shadow generated by the blades on even relatively dull days creates a deeply unpleasant stroboscopic effect.

3. In France, no wind turbine is allowed to be constructed within 1.5 km of housing due to the noise factor – there are many houses much closer than this here.

4. These 120m turbines are taller than Salisbury Cathedral with a blade diameter of 80 metres. They will be visible from miles away; taller than Shaftesbury Hill their installation will require massive piles and 1,000-tonne concrete plinths which will remain in the ground even after decommissioning, covered by only a metre of topsoil. The environmental impact in such a beautiful area is unthinkably awful and will directly impact on the economy in terms of house value and tourism.

5. Across the UK, the average working efficiency of wind turbines is just 27 per cent. Here, in a relatively “unwindy” area it is likely to be significantly less.

6. Even operating at 27 per cent, the amount of electricity generated by the six proposed 2MW turbines is estimated at 28,400MW hours – is 0.007 per cent of UK consumption; a negligible amount.

7. Even a far greater amount would not offset any conventional power source. Wind power fluctuates and electricity demand is highly predictable, so demands on the grid must be sourced from “firm”, reliable conventional sources. Running such sources on a rapid response rather than predictable basis would be prohibitively expensive if wind power were part of the equation.

8. Each turbine attracts subsidies, sourced from our electricity bills, of £1.5 million for the developer regardless of output and efficiency. Without these subsidies turbines would not represent a feasible business proposition here.

9. In addition to the value of electricity sold and other subsidies, each turbine generates some £2.5 million a year for the developer – a hugely attractive business proposition with an internal rate of return of about 25 per cent.

10. The developer, Ecotricity, has a history of starting small and expanding sites; it is applying for planning permission for six turbines which could become significantly more; the landowner stands to make large sums of money per turbine per annum, so as far as they are concerned, the more the merrier.

11. The ecological “advantage” of wind turbines equates to a cost per tonne of CO2 and carbon offsetting.

12. The ecological cost of manufacturing, transporting and installing these turbines is enormous.

So who benefits? Ecotricity and those on whose land the turbines are built.

Who loses? The local community, landscape, wildlife and the environment.

Sarah Newitt

This Is Devon

22 July 2008