We had a meeting with the developer of Little Raith Wind Farm (Kennedy Renewables) and their PR/Political Lobbying group (Invicta PA) back in October. Unfortunately, most of our questions couldn’t be answered at the time, but the developer took note of the issues and concerns raised, and notified us they will get back to us regarding our queries, and could we also include our concerns in writing.
We contacted the developers and the four Community Councils on the 27th January 2012 with our questions, as well as questions and concerns received from members of the local community (published below). Unfortunately the email address listed for Cowdenbeath Community Council on the Fife Council website is wrong but Lochgelly, Lumphinnans, and Auchtertool, received our email, as well as the developer. As of yet, we have still to receive a reply.
- Bats are at risk from Industrial Wind Turbines, as the change in air pressure ruptures their lungs 1 2 3 4, at the Gelly Loch there is a thriving bat community. What research was conducted to identify the numbers of bats at the Gelly Loch that will be directly threatened by Little Raith Wind Farm? Please provide a copy of any research.
- The Gelly Loch is home to over 1200 wintering wildlife and is used by passage for pink footed geese during the winter months 5, and the FWS calculate that around 37 birds are killed per year per turbine in Europe 6. Numbers may be understated due to developers not accurately reporting or covering up bird kills 7. What research was conducted into the bird life at Gelly Loch and what precautions are the developers undertaking to ensure their safety?
- How many bird and bat kills from Industrial Wind Turbines are acceptable within the Little Raith Wind Farm development?
- A condition was attached to the development that stated if benzene levels were to increase in the local area, Little Raith Wind Farm had to be closed down and the turbines removed 8. This condition was appealed, and now you only have to monitor the benzene levels 9. If benzene levels are increased due to the wind farm development what protections will be offered to the local communities, and what action will you take to prevent future increase of benzene levels?
- Noise pollution was conducted using the Dba weighting, however research indicates that the Dbc weighting should be used to more accurately predict Low Frequency Noise 10. What test (if any) have been conducted on the likely Low Frequency Noise Pollution in the local communities?
- If no tests into Low Frequency Noise Pollution has been conducted, or if tests were conducted using the Dba method, will the developers agree to carry out tests using the Dbc method?
- If Noise Pollution or Low Frequency Noise Pollution becomes a problem in the local communities where do people complain, to remedy the situation?
- What safety mechanisms are in place to prevent noise and low frequency noise pollution?
- You claim that Little Raith Wind Farm will generate enough power for 14,500 homes 11. Is this based on the nameplate capacity of all the turbines or based on expected energy production levels?
- It has been well documented by a variety of sources that Industrial Wind Farms only produce around 20% of their nameplate capacity 12 13. What percentage of production levels are you expecting for Little Raith Wind Farm?
- Claims have been made that Little Raith Wind Farm will help reduce Fifes emission levels by 25% 14. What factors were considered when calculating the CO2 reduction levels for Little Raith Wind Farm?
- Did the calculations include the Neodymium extraction process 15 which is a crucial component for the Little Raith Industrial Turbines?
- Fife Council guidelines state a 2km setback zone for developments over 25Mw 16, which is inline with the Scottish Executive recommended separation distance. Why were the local and Scottish guidelines ignored by the developers?
- There is more and more research indicating that Industrial Turbines producing excessive low frequency noise pollution is causing harmful effects to some residents living in close proximity to wind farms 17 18, and even a wind energy commissioned report indicated that there is health concerns from Industrial Wind Farms 19. Can the developers provide any assurances or evidence that Little Raith Wind Farm will not impact on any individuals health within the local communities?
- Can the developer provide assurances that the local communities will not be effected by Low Frequency Noise pollution?
- How much oil is expected to be used for each turbine at Little Raith Wind Farm per year? 20
- What is the longest distance the turbines will cast a shadow from the sun?
- The turbines are over 100ft higher than the Mossmorran flare stack. When Mossmorran flares, how will Little Raith Wind Farm reduce the flicker effect caused from the flare light source?
- How much electrical input from the National Grid does each turbine require to operate? 21
- Will the power taken from the National Grid to keep the turbines operational be recorded in any annual statements?
- Without government subsidies 22 23 are your turbines cost effective?
- West Coast Energy commissioned a report regarding benzene concentration levels in the air from a wind farm which SEPA disagreed with the results but didn’t clarify their concerns. Will you make this report available online and easily accessible, so other trained persons can review the research results?
- It has been noted in other areas that landowners that allow wind turbines on their land have to sign a confidentiality clause 24. Do you have any confidentiality clauses with the landowners?
- Will the landowners be receiving any payments for allowing the turbines to be sited on their land?
- How much money will the landowners receive for allowing the turbines to be sited on their land?
- If this figure cannot be disclosed, can you tell us, if the landowners will be receiving more or less money per year than the Community Benefit being offered to the 4 areas?
- Various research has been conducted that state homes within a certain radius of wind farm developments lose their value 25 26 27. Can you provide any assurances that property values will not be reduced in the local areas due to your development?
- If property values do decline in the local area, and if this can be directly attributed to Little Raith Wind Farm, will your company compensate the property owners for their loss?
- Do your turbines create television interference? 28
- Do your turbines interfere with cell phone reception?
- While your turbines are referred to as a wind farm, isn’t it true that a more accurate term for your development is that it is an Industrial Power Plant that utilises wind energy?
- The 9 turbines at Little Raith are more than 2km from Auchtertool. If you are not expecting any negative impact from your turbines in the Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath and Lumphinnans area, then why is Auchtertool being considered to receive any of the Community Benefit being offered?
- Can you provide any peer reviewed scientific proof that wind turbines decrease CO2 levels?
- You claim that all 4 community Councils fully support Little Raith Wind Farm, yet we have been in contact with Lochgelly Community Council, and they cannot verify if they fully support Little Raith Wind Farm development and the increase in turbine height. What evidence do you have that Lochgelly Community Council fully support your development, including the increase in turbine height?
- Will you arrange a series of public meetings to be held in each area (Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Lumphinnans, and Auchtertool) to allow others to raise their concerns directly with you, or to learn more about Little Raith Wind Farm?
- If you will not arrange any local public meetings, can you give the reasons why?
- The Little Raith ruins which is a designated archeological site (Scottish National Heritage) has already suffered damage, even though you assured the community groups that these ruins would be sealed of and secured 29. Will you be repairing the damage so the ruins are restored to their former state before development work began?
We would like to state we are not against Renewable Technologies, however with Wind Energy there is some potential negative impacts that may outweigh the positive benefits, and we feel that there should be an honest and open approach looking at both sides of the debate, addressing the concerns regarding wind energy.
We have published these questions online for openness and transparency and if possible, we will publish any answers we receive online. If anyone else has any questions or concerns they wish to raise to the developers, please ask in the comments below.
- NewScientist Environment, Wind turbine make bat lungs explode: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14593-wind-turbines-make-bat-lungs-explode.html ↩
- Daily Mail, Wind turbine threat to bat populations costing farmers billions each year http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1372235/Wind-turbine-threat-bat-populations-costing-farmers-billions-year.html ↩
- Bats interacting with wind turbines, //www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxSdU-fozGY ↩
- Synapse, The Boston Undergraduate Science Magazine: The effect of wind energy on bats, http://pixelspring.com/synapse/?p=304 ↩
- RSPB concerns as stated in Application for Environmental Impact Assessment, section 22.214.171.124, Ref: 08/01053/WEIA https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:grpFB51dRpwJ:admin.1fife.org.uk/uploadfiles/publications/c64_Item15%28h%290801053WEIA08LittleRaith.doc+fife+council+little+raith+rspb+1200+pink+footed+geese&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiNUHH8oRJFUxumXQD-PjCEiLP4pLt1-U36coSb8HiNLOB-dNfUTfHd2LQfmLP2AWBK33RXCDLyL8cv5kLRHcfieq3WKzeEFTeTx-vU4IFnP_wbsyVY8BKNaPdr2PKqU43HEnKq&sig=AHIEtbRvrSpV1biM-KzJkdWZkY_bjJj29Q ↩
- A problem with Wind, Birds Bats and Other Wildlife by Eric Rosenbloom http://www.aweo.org/problemwithwind.html ↩
- Clive Hambler, Lecturer in Biological and Human Sciences, Hertford College, University of Oxford, UK http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/truth_about_wind/message/2741 ↩
- Application for Environmental Impact Assessment, Ref: 08/01053/WEIA, Condition 18 https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:grpFB51dRpwJ:admin.1fife.org.uk/uploadfiles/publications/c64_Item15%28h%290801053WEIA08LittleRaith.doc+fife+council+little+raith+rspb+1200+pink+footed+geese&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiNUHH8oRJFUxumXQD-PjCEiLP4pLt1-U36coSb8HiNLOB-dNfUTfHd2LQfmLP2AWBK33RXCDLyL8cv5kLRHcfieq3WKzeEFTeTx-vU4IFnP_wbsyVY8BKNaPdr2PKqU43HEnKq&sig=AHIEtbRvrSpV1biM-KzJkdWZkY_bjJj29Q ↩
- Cowdenbeath Area Committee 28/01/09, Agenda Item No. 9(a) Appeals Upheld, section 7.1 https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:8Ganh_g15p0J:admin.1fife.org.uk/uploadfiles/publications/c64_ItemNo.9%28a%29-PlanningAppealsProgressReport.doc+fife+council+little+raith+wind+farm+planning+conditions&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShwhs3IFQAEruZa7bGMtBE9upyXkZLp0UhrPjWk6b8tkZ3ds6SvmcyRE098U1z5y8pEV8BtiNjpHWvAufoYa2xG2x0ZF4UuobZ52NobQsy4dlOT__mN4rii7qdXFlV57F050zOk&sig=AHIEtbQeKwWv4iPalo6wxK1Mp9i0QV3Bjw ↩
- HG Leventhall, Noise and Vibration Consultant, Ashtead, Surrey, United Kingdom, http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2004;volume=6;issue=23;spage=59;epage=72;aulast=Leventhall ↩
- Kennedy Renewables, Community Update 2011 (Community Benefits, page 2) http://kennedyrenewables.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/LittleRaithCommunityUpdate.pdf ↩
- Ecologist, Wind Industry and Decc urged to come clean on output of wind farms, http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/873232/wind_industry_and_decc_urged_to_come_clean_on_output_of_wind_farms.html ↩
- Analysis of UK Wind Power Generation, A report by Stuart Young supported by John Muir Trust, http://www.jmt.org/assets/pdf/wind-report.pdf ↩
- Central Fife Times, Little Raith Information Sessions http://www.centralfifetimes.com/news/roundup/articles/2011/09/15/417222-little-raith-information-sessions/ ↩
- Daily Mail, In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html ↩
- Fife Council, Supplementary Planning Guidance, Wind Energy, Section 5.2.3 Impact on Communities and Buffer Zones http://publications.1fife.org.uk/uploadfiles/publications/c64_WindEnergyfinal1.pdf ↩
- Low Frequency Noise, Infrasound and Wind Turbines http://www.windvigilance.com/about-adverse-health-effects/low-frequency-noise-infrasound-and-wind-turbines ↩
- Noise Abatement Society http://noiseabatementsociety.com/campaigns/wind-turbines/ ↩
- W. David Colby, M.D et al., Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects, An Expert Panel Review 2009, Prepared for American Wind Energy Association and Canadian Wind Energy Association ↩
- Kluber Lubrication, Wind Turbines Power Up with Oil http://www.kluberfood.com/pdfs/LubepointsJune2007_Siebert.pdf ↩
- Energy consumption in wind facilities, http://www.aweo.org/windconsumption.html ↩
- Renewable Energy Foundation, UK Renewables Subsidies, http://docs.wind-watch.org/renewables-obligation-paper.pdf ↩
- The Telegraph, Foreign firms reap £500m a year in subsidies from UK wind farms, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8770620/Foreign-firms-reap-500m-a-year-in-subsidies-from-UK-wind-farms.html ↩
- NDSU, Wind Turbine Lease Considerations for Landowners http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/agecon/market/ec1394.htm ↩
- Case Studies – examples of homes near wind farms losing value, http://www.stopwoodlanewindfarm.co.uk/housepricestudy2.htm ↩
- Westmorland Gazette – Windfarm blows house value away, http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/447706.print/ ↩
- Acoustic Ecology, http://www.acousticecology.org/wind/winddocs/property/Kielisch%20-%20Wind%20+%20Property%20Value.pdf ↩
- Ofcom, Tall structures and their impact on broadcast and other wireless services, http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/spectrum/fixed-terrestrial-links/wind-farms/tall_structures.pdf ↩
- RWF Group, Construction images, ,http://littleraithwindfarm.org.uk/?page_id=1178 ↩
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