The prospect of a wind farm on Bodmin Moor is back on the agenda again, as a company called Community Windpower (CWPL) returns to North Cornwall.
This company came to the area about three years ago and under the name of Davidstow Community Wind Ltd, proposed to put 20 126-metre turbines in the woods and on the farmland around Crowdy Reservoir.
This became one of the most controversial wind farm applications in Cor nwall.
Crowdy is a spectacularly popular site for many types of bird with the famous mass starling flocks and golden plover, to mention a few; in fact there is a logbook in the bird hide on the water’s edge which lists all the visitors.
CWPL has a new plan for 17 turbines on the site including one only a few yards away from the hide. When the first Davidstow wind farm came before the planning committee, it was turned down due to the overwhelming number of objections from both the public, and all the statutory consultees and the recommendation of the case officer. But, as soon as the vote was counted a council official said ‘sorry but our new strategic planning committee must now look at this’.
In a stroke Cornwall Council nullified that democratic decision: it remains to be seen whether they will continue on the same path.
The outcome of the meeting saw the committee vote the project in provided CWPL could mitigate a problem with radio and radar links and get round the RSPB objections. They completely ignored all the other objections and even the planning officers’ five reasons to recommend a rejection.
But CWPL could not get around the problems and therefore the unitary council’s new strategic planning committee turned the application down.
Over the last three years, attention has been focused on Community Windpower Ltd but in fact there are two other parties involved: the owner of the farmland and the Forestry Commission.
The landowner may or may not regret getting involved; after all, a lot of money is at stake, but the Forestry Commission, who are government guardians and managers of our woodlands, seem also to have leapt at the chance of easy money at the expense of the environment they are supposed to cherish.
The picture they like to paint is one of a wise and friendly ranger in a green sweatshirt releasing homeless voles or owls into their carefully managed landscape while talking to a Countryfile presenter.
In reality they are happy to see this wind farm in that forestry while knowing it will destroy the ecology of that area.
What they do not want to publicise is the fact that there will not be any woodland if that wind farm is built. The woodland is of course cropped every 20 or 30 years on a semi-rotational basis with the trees eventually reaching about 50ft high. But a wind farm does not work properly amid trees and so all the trees will have to be cut down; they will not grow trees that cannot be allowed to mature. That means the exit of all the birds that use the wood.
CWPL’s mitigation is to drive the others away using sirens and recordings of predatory bird calls. Many of the water birds and predators that rely on Crowdy will still try to live there but they will always be in danger from the turbines.
Proof of CWPL’s disregard for our environment is shown by the very disturbing conversation with the developers, Be Green, shop personnel – when asked “what bird deaths have been factored into this development?” The answer was – “Don’t know, it happens, that’s the way it is”.
When asked, “Can I quote you on this?”, the answer was, “Yes”.
When further asked how they feel about 16,000 birds being killed per year, their answer was “What’s 16,000 out of millions – the company has agreed that if bird deaths exceed 250 per day then the turbines will be switched off “. None of this will be seen by the public because CWPL will close the forest to the public as they have done from time to time at their other site near Darly Scotland.
Make no mistake, the mitigation that CWPL propose to get round the RSPB will be the end of this natural sanctuary, and the Forestry Commission, who are guests in Davidstow and Advent parishes, will help CWPL destroy that environment not protect it.
And all for a wind farm that is not needed and is definitely not environmentally friendly.
MR D PICKERING Sheffield
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