Nearly 8000 people call for a ban on commercial wind turbines in the AONB and a 1.5 km buffer zone between commercial turbines and homes on Anglesey
IN PROBABLY THE LARGEST PETITION EVER COLLECTED IN THE ISLAND’S HISTORY OVER 7850* PEOPLE, young and old, have called for no commercial** wind turbines to be built in Anglesey’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a 1.5 km*** minimum separation distance between any commercial wind turbine developments and residential properties. Given the way the population is spread across the island, this separation distance would in effect prevent the further siting of commercial industrial-size turbines on Anglesey.
TODAY AT 3PM THURSDAY 11 OCTOBER, THE PETITION WILL BE PRESENTED FORMALLY to Anglesey County Council’s Chief Executive, Richard Parry Jones, and Leader of the Council, Bryan Owen, along with a letter requesting that the petition be heard by a full meeting of the Council. Signatures were collected for the petition in response to Anglesey County Council’s 2nd public consultation on its Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) on Onshore Wind Energy. AAWT’s official response to the SPG will also be handed over, as will a dvd of a US Hearing about the damaging effects of wind turbines on health.
THE NUMBER OF PETITION SIGNATURES REPRESENTS MORE THAN 11% OF THE ISLAND’S POPULATION, a staggering total that far outstrips response numbers to other Council consultations. These are usually counted in the 10s and low 100s. Had the consultation timescale (it commenced in the holiday period from mid-August , and closed today Thursday 11 October) and weather permitted, the number of signatures would have surpassed even this astonishing figure, such was the support found by canvassers knocking on doors across the island. Householder after householder welcomed the petition and offered heartfelt thanks to canvassers for their efforts on behalf of islanders. Nearly everyone who was asked to sign did so.
And it was impossible to canvass every part of the island, but areas covered included Beaumaris, Benllech, Red Wharf Bay, Brynteg, Marianglas, Pentraeth, Penmynydd, Rhoscefnhir, Talwrn, Llansadwrn, Llandegfan, Llanddona, Brynsiencyn, Moelfre, Menai Bridge, Llanfairpwll, Cemaes Bay, Llangaffo, and Llangefni. Not even these could be covered in their entirety and the list itself is not exhaustive.
“Wind turbines don’t work”, said many householders. ”They’re inefficient”, said others. “They shouldn’t be close to people’s homes, it isn’t right.” “They have bad effects on health” said one old lady. “If we have to have them, they should be put out at sea, where they can’t be seen.” “Who wants these horrible things, only the people who make money out of them.” “They’ve ruined other places, don’t let them ruin Anglesey.” “Who’ll want to come to Anglesey, if they build them everywhere.” Just a few of the comments people made on their doorsteps.
Owain Evans, co-chairman of AAWT said, “The petition is a massive achievement. It’s attracted support from every shade of opinion, and the result is absolutely fantastic.”
“What’s acceptable to the community on Anglesey can’t be clearer”, said Mairede Thomas of AAWT and writer of its official response to the SPG. “The Council and its officers cannot afford to ignore what residents want. Residents don’t want planning guidelines loosened for wind turbines, if anything they want them tightened.”
“The Council has a duty to respect the wishes of its citizens, where planning is concerned,” added Paul Madden. “No-one wants the island to become a giant wind farm by default. Allow commercial turbines to be shoved up across the island and that’s what you’d get.”
Anglesey already has 3 wind farms comprising 77 turbines in the north of the island dating from the 1990s and a nuclear power station at Wylfa, with a replacement planned. Some 125 planning, scoping and screening applications for wind turbines have been made to Anglesey County Council, in the period June 2010 – June 2012 – see details at www.aawt.org.uk.
*This figure does not include individual responses to the SPG made via the AAWT website or made directly to the Council.
**A commercial turbine is a turbine of any size, which is not primarily for the use of an individual domestic residence, and which is intended to generate surplus electricity for profit.
***England has no recommended separation distance, and it is left to the discretion of individual councils. The Scottish Government recommends a separation distance of 2 km. The Welsh Government suggests a separation distance of 500 metres. This was dropped from the draft revised SPG document, and a sliding distance scale of 10 times height to blade tip substituted, despite Anglesey County Council’s own Scrutiny Committee calling for a sliding scale for larger turbines in addition to a minimum distance of 500 metres. In response to the first SPG consultation 63% of respondents called for a minimum 1.5 km separation distance.
Elsewhere in 2006 the French equivalent of the BMA the National Academy of Medicine recommended that turbines should be sited at least 1.5km from homes in order to protect people from Amplitude Modulation (AM) and low frequency noise, arising from wind turbine proximity, which clinicians identified as the probable cause of sleep disturbance and health problems in some people.
AAWT settled on a 1.5 km minimum separation distance, as this was the distance that seemed to command the broadest support – that’s been proved of course by the substantial number, who have signed the petition. It hasn’t prevented individual supporters, in their own responses to the SPG, calling for higher separation distance, such as 2 km.
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