- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Cornwall Council plans 20-year guide for wind turbine and solar panel schemes

Cornwall Council has published dozens of reports stretching to more than a thousand pages as it formulates a policy on the future for renewable energy.

The authority wants residents who are concerned about wind turbines and solar panel developments to submit their thoughts before Christmas.

Landscape campaigners have described much of the information now available to view on the council’s website – in a main report, five annexes and 40 separate local analyses – as “incomprehensible”.

Cornwall Protect, the group set up to try to resist the growing number of wind and solar farms, has welcomed the attempt to “bring some sort of order” to the so-called “gold rush” but said the move may be “too late”.

The Western Morning News revealed last month that the number of turbines in the Duchy is set to rise from 100 in 2010 to more than 600 by 2015, outnumbering historic churches as the iconic landmark.

Danny Mageean, of Cornwall Protect, said: “It’s an attempt to bring some sort of order to what’s going on but it is very late given what has already been approved.

“There has been a lot of talk in the council about how then can manage what is happening but they should have done it five or six years ago

“There are already national documents in use which they could also use – this is not a bad thing but it is too late.”

The reports presented include a cumulative impact assessment and a 100-page landscape assessment report to onshore wind and large-scale solar farms, prepared by Land Use Consultants in April 2011.

Along with the five annexes, these fill more than 500 pages, plus 40 separate reports for individual landscape areas.

The council announced the consultation yesterday, which is set to end on December 20.

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, cabinet member for environment, heritage and planning, said: “We recognise the opportunities which Cornwall’s unique landscape offers, and the benefits of renewable energy generation.

“However, the development of renewable energy generation installations across Cornwall needs to be managed carefully to achieve the greatest contribution towards our energy needs, while at the same time ensuring that the important characteristics of the Cornish landscape are not unacceptably harmed.”

Jeremy Varcoe, of the Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society, said he welcomed a “strategic approach” but lamented the lack of an assessment on the effect on tourism.

“The real test is whether officers will implement them,” he added.

Scott Mann, a former deputy leader of the council’s Tory group, said it was “shocking” the documents were being used to support plans despite not being adopted.