Friday, September 03, 2010

Spaldington windfarm applications thrown out by ERYC Planning Committee

Pictured with David Davis MP and Spaldington Residents

This week we saw a victory for local democracy as the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee supported 98% of Spaldington residents and threw out the two windfarm applications – one at each side of the village.

We had the Parish Councils of Spaldington, HOSM, Bubwith, Foggathorpe, Gilberdyke, Eastrington, Wressle, and Howden Town Council - representing some 13,755 local residents all objecting to the applications, we also had local MP David Davis and MEP Godfrey Bloom speaking out against the applications.

The East Riding is already carrying more than its fair share of the country’s EU and National renewable energy targets in those that have been approved. The capacity of the East Riding to accept more wind farms is perhaps open to question – BUT what is clear is that this particular area - within a 12 ½ mile radius of Spaldington, that forms the gateway to the East Riding, will be saturated by the 90 wind turbines that are either constructed, or are already approved and waiting to be are built. What we will see is effect a windfarm landscape without adding more.

As a member of the Planning Committee, I can’t recall considering any like the two applications facing the village. It was not just about the proximity of 2 windfarms – it was about Spaldington being at the centre of a large windfarm, with residents living in the middle of 12 of the biggest on-shore wind turbines in the UK. We had never seen applications were so many properties would have been within 1000m – 56 houses, and unbelievably 24 of which would have been within 775m.

For me Spaldington residents have suffered enough, and continue to suffer from the foulest smells as a result of agricultural composting, but now at least they will not be faced with being at the centre of a large-scale windfarm – I hope the decision we made will give a little respite to the community by not compounding their suffering with a noisy windfarm.

I spoke at length and moved refusal for both applications for the following reasons

1. Cumulative impact of both the applications and the other 90 wind turbines that are either operational or approved within a 12 ½ mile radius of the site.

2. Overbearing and detrimental impact on the lives of residents living in the properties falling within 1,000m of the proposed site.

Fortunately the majority of the planning Committee agreed.

The applicants can of course appeal the decision, as we have seen with many windfarm applications in the East Riding, so it may be that residents have been victorious in this battle but the war is still to be won.

If it is the case that the applicants do decide to appeal the decisions, it is clear they will have one hell of a battle - with a formidable residents group to lead the fight. I will no longer be shackled by the Councillors ‘Code of Conduct’ (as I have prior to the planning committee meeting) - therefore please be assured that if the decisions are appealed I will do my utmost to ensure that ultimate victory will be with Spaldington residents, and those living in the neighbouring communities.

(Please see images below produced by Robert Hare showing showing sections of the views from each end of the village now and also with the proposed wind turbines superimposed as per the industry standards)


Anonymous said...

This will give some peace of mind to Spaldington residents but as you say will probably lead to an appeal. The whole story of wind turbines needs seriously examining, especially the grant incentives which we all pay for out of taxes. Lets face it, without the grants very few of the windfarm projects would even get off the drawing board stage.

Rob Hare said...

The prospect facing Spaldington was awful. Everyone in and around Spaldington, (other than the 2%) will be very grateful to the Councillors on the Planning Committee for listening to local people and having the courage to throw these applications out.

Paul, thanks for moving the motions to refuse and for speaking as you did.

And thanks to everyone who went to the Committee meeting in Beverley yesterday. The scenes afterwards are something that I will never forget.

There are far too many proposed Howdenshire windfarms at various stages in the planning system. Perhaps we have started to draw a line in the sand.

If the developers appeal, ERYC can win these two.

Anonymous said...

As a resident in Spaldington I am overjoyed that at last we have been listened to and hopefully in the future we will be listened to with regard to the composting issues in the area.
This has certainly brought the residents of the village together.
But I must say, that for me, it was marred by the fact that I couldn't get into this public meeting along with approximately another 20 people (both for and against the applications). The council obviously knew the meeting would probably be well attended by the presence of police officers just inside the council doors.
This was supposed to be a public meeting and to limit it to 50 people (including the other none wind farm applications) was totally unacceptable.

Paul Robinson said...

With regards to the Police presence and the limit on numbers -

I'm told this was more to do with an application further down the Planning Committee agenda dealing with a possible animal testing facility then it was the wind farm applications.

But having said that I'm sorry you could't get it because it was a really good atmosphere - and democracy prevailed....


Anonymous said...

Thank heavens the Committee listened to "the little man" and told the multi-million pound, foreign companies behind these plans that enough is enough.

I am a true "greenie". I recycle, I compost, I belong to seven different wildlife and conservation organisations, I drive a low-emission car but walk when I can. I am deeply concerned by global warming and its man-made causes. But I honestly believe that wind turbines are a pretty pathetic response to the threat facing us. They are inefficient. The wind is unreliable and unpredictable.

By the power companies' own optimistic claims, it would take almost four and a half thousand of these huge 420 foot-tall white elephants to produce as much electricity as Drax. People ask "Which would you rather: wind turbines or Drax?" They should be asking: "Which would you rather: Drax or 4500 wind turbines in East Yorkshire and another 4500 in Cumbria (in case it's calm in the East Riding) and another 4500 in Derbyshire (in case it's calm in Cumbria) etc, etc, and STILL have to have Drax on standby in case the whole UK's not windy?" Doesn't sound so attractive or sensible then, does it?

Again, using the industry's own figures, Spaldington's twelve turbines would take a YEAR to produce what Drax does in under NINETEEN HOURS. All 132 onshore turbines currently operating, building, approved or applied for in East Yorks would take a YEAR to produce what Drax does in just over a WEEK.

Wind turbines are not the answer. They're an excuse for the industry to make money from the taxpayer and the consumer, and they're a fig-leaf for governments who've been barking up the wrong tree but want to look as if they're doing something - anything.

No, The Council has done the right thing, here. A major part of their responsibility is to safeguard what makes the East Riding and its countryside a great place to live. Too many people live too close to these sites for the plans to have gone ahead.

Anonymous said...

Hurrah!! Congratulations to the STOP campaign and the ERYC Councillors for winning this battle. Unfortunately I fear the war is far from over.
Wind turbines are currently the most unreliable method of power generation we have yet managed to devise. There will be occasional places where windpower is useful but it can never be a major source of reliable power. The solution to our upcoming energy crisis is staring us in the face but unfortunately many people are frightened of it - nuclear power. If we hurry up before the gov succeeds in selling off what expertise we have left we could do it ourselves without having to spend billions importing stuff.
Nuclear does have a problem - a small amount of the waste produced remains toxic for a long time, but if just some of the taxpayers money that is currently handed to wind farm companies was instead used for well thought out research into this we should be able to crack that problem.
Congratulations to all concerned and raspberries to those individuals and companies who were prepared to destroy the Spaldington community just for 30 pieces of silver.

Wendy McKay said...

We are extremely grateful to Paul Robinson and members of ERYC Planning Committee for listening to us and understanding our concerns and for refusing the Spaldington wind farms. We know that this is just Round 1 in what maybe a long battle, but it was a Round that we absolutely had to win. The message coming out of the ERYC consultee responses, and the case officer’s report was defeatist, as though any excuse would do to save risking yet another appeal, however bad the consequences might be for the local residents and this part of the East Riding. Fortunately for us, the councillors on the planning committee had the courage to say NO. The developers for both of the Spaldington wind farms had shown a total disregard for proximity to surrounding houses, for the birds and wildlife in the area, for the impact on archaeology and settings of listed buildings. Had these applications been approved, the ERYC would have been handing a blank cheque to developers indicating that provided their applications concluded there would be no effects they would not be challenged. Spaldington has shown that we are not prepared to be sacrificed. To avoid visual distress, noise and sleep disturbance to neighbouring residents, wind turbines should only be sited in areas where they are at least 2km from surrounding houses. Turbines should not be placed in ANYONE’s backyard!

Why not use unpopulated areas said...

I was driving from Swinefleet to Eastoft today and noticed a wind farm on the horizon to the East side of the River Trent. I could also see the new farm at Drax. It did strike me that there was a huge extremely sparsely populated expanse of flat land on the Thorne Wastes/Swinefleet Common. What few houses I could see that might be affected were either semi-derelict, losing their roofs or could be bought out in the price of the development if that area was utilised. Wildlife would soon adapt as it does everywhere in the world.

John Jessop said...

Hurrah for the suggestion to use Thorne Wastes. Of course we can now expect the usual chorus of "what about the birds and butterflies" but the use of such an enormous open space would be ideal. Lots of unimpeded flat land around for miles so nothing to restrict the windflows and very few neighbours to upset. Those that are there could receive substantial compensation or be relocated with incentives.

Anonymous said...

I wish I lived on a hillside, alongside a clean rushing stream. I would have a water turbine generator and to hell with the electricity/water companies greed. Sadly I don't!

Kev Owen said...

Thorne Wastes would seem an ideal spot to site a wind farm or two to those not au-fait with the area.
To those that are, we kind of wonder where among the Inland water bodies Bogs, Marshes Water fringed vegetation, Fens, Heath Scrub and
Broad-leaved deciduous woodland you would find a spot conducive with sticking up a few windmills.
It isn't called 'Thorne Waste' for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Most people have never lived next to a windfarm. Well I have and it’s not good. We lived next to the Mablethorpe windfarm in Lincolnshire, and the nearest of the 10 turbines was only 550m away from our home. The windfarm’s impact on our lives was enormous, and those turbines are smaller with blades half the size of those proposed for Spaldington.

Firstly there is the noise, a constant unremitting sound which unlike traffic never eases up, never stops when the wind blows. You can’t escape it and it’s worse at night. When most other noise stops, the background silence only serves to focus on the continuous slap…slap…slap of the blades – 3 times for every revolution. It affects sleep! The noise prevents you falling asleep and makes it impossible to get back to sleep if you wake in the night. And you don’t get used it. So shut the windows…never mind that it’s a hot summer night. Make your choice, suffer the heat or suffer the noise, not much of a choice is it?

Sleep deprivation makes people tetchy. Small irritations become large irritations and you start snapping at people, especially your nearest and dearest. You even carry it forward into the car when you’re driving because you’re suffering from stress.

One way of relaxing is gardening but sitting out in the garden or taking a gentle evening stroll around the garden is ruined by the noise of the blades. Another form of relaxation is reading and here we encounter a second major problem – shadow flicker. This for me was a real problem as you cannot read when there is shadow flicker. If the sun shines there is shadow flicker. Imagine the strobe lighting in a disco or driving along when the sun is behind a row of trees and the sun flashes…flashes…flashes as you drive by. You end up reading the same lines again and again as the sun flashes across the page. Awful. The effects of shadow flicker are often dismissed as not significant. Only happens up to 10 blade diameters away - not true. We were about 13 diameters away from the nearest of the 10 turbines and we suffered. It’s only occasional - not true. In our case it was stated it would happen on 129 days per year – nearly all the sunny days. Just think how people who suffer from migraine or epilepsy could be affected.

What about the visual impact, turbines may look O.K. in the distance, you either do or don’t like them, but up close they are overpowering and unwelcoming. A friend of ours took his grandchildren to see the windfarm. They had been told at school they were good. They were scared. They said it reminded them of the “War of the Worlds” film which they had recently seen - monsters striding across the countryside killing everything – their words, not mine.

Overall, having a windfarm so close to my home removed much of my quality of life. It caused stress, affected my health and caused problems which have only been resolved since moving away.

Windfarms should be no closer than 2km from dwellings. With 2 windfarms proposed, with larger turbines, sandwiching the village of Spaldington I was worried for the welfare of the villagers, no-one should have to go through the stress we did.

Kev Owen said...

Whilst I have no doubt that "Anonymous" had some problems living in the shadow of Mabelthorpe's Mile lane/Fen lane wind farm. I find it hard to believe that given the sparsity of dwellings in that area that anyone could possibly be as inconvenienced as was made out.
Shadow flicker only occurs when the sun is behind the blades and the subject is within the shadow cast by them. Looking at Google maps of the area I can't see how the shadow fall from any of the turbines could possibly extend as far as is being alleged. Even if it were so, the Earth is constantly moving on it's orbit and the sun never stays in the same place all day, so the amount of time 'shadow flicker' that could be a problem on a daily basis is small...unless one walks whilst reading so as to remain within the shadow fall.
As far as noise goes I've sat within 500 metres of the newly commissioned Drax (Rusholme)wind farm and those turbines are a lot bigger than the ones in Mabelthorpe, I'm sure I could quite happily have fallen asleep there. I found the wind farm put out less noise than I usually get living in Goole near a main road...
I suppose that anonymous is a light sleeper or being so adverse to wind farms lays awake listening for any noise that could be attributed to the wind farm to bolster the claim of sleepless nights.
Now don't get me wrong here I'm not saying that anonymous didn't experience a few problems, just they may not have been as severe as is made out.
I'm no fan (no pun intended) of onshore wind farms (ask Paul) I'd much rather they be offshore, but please, if we're going to complain or exchange anecdotes in support of denying a wind farm's existence, lets keep ourselves grounded and not resort to exaggeration however well intentioned it may be.
FWIW I applaud the Planning Committee's decision in denying planning permission for a wind farm at Spaldington. The residents of that area put up with enough as it is, without something else being dumped on their doorsteps and residents are right to kick up a stink over it(pun intentional).
We have more than our fair share of these things already, enough is enough!

Paul Robinson said...

There is some confusion as to the potential loss of community funds with the refusal of the two Spaldington windfarm applications. It would appear that supporters of the applications are peddling a rumour in that villages surrounding Spaldington will lose funding for community projects.

It is common practice for offers of community funding to be made by developers of windfarms and other energy providers and can be very controversial, with some looking upon it as a thinly disguised attempt at bribery i.e. “If approval is granted then we will give the area an amount of money each year – if you don’t approve then there will be no money”.

The issue of community funds does not sit comfortably with me as a member of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee.

When an application is approved to which community funding is attached, the money is in some cases paid directly to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to be administered by a panel including representatives of the community, developers and the Council. In other cases the funds may be retained and administered by the developers themselves.

The conditions attached to the funds by developers can vary but they usually specify the area within which the funds can be used, and limit their use to specified purposes.

The areas benefiting from the money available tend to be restricted to the parish in which the development is located, and neighbouring parishes. However, there have been instances where the area of benefit extends further into the East Riding, but with the emphasis being placed on projects most closely associated with the development.

The purposes for which the money can be used, and the way in which it can be distributed, are always restricted in some way and may be limited to a narrow range of objects such as being energy or learning related. In other cases developers are more flexible with their requirements.

There is no information on the offers relating to Spaldington and whether or not those offers would be withdrawn if the applications were refused and went to appeal. However, I can recall only one occasion where a developer failed to offer a community fund during the course of an inquiry.

The bottom line is that offers to make payments into a community fund rarely carry any weight in the planning balance. We were reminded of this at the Planning Committee when the Spaldington applications were discussed and advised that any offers made should not be used as a reason for approval or refusal – and in my case I completely ignored the offer. My decision and my vote are not for sale at any price at any time.

Anonymous said...

Clearly all of you approve of the 3 large power stations around the area, because I for one love the large, grey, polluting beasts that they are over the slim, stylish windmills (if you didn't notice that was sarcasm).

You all don't know the benefits that this provides, cheaper energy, cleaner air (if a power station was built instead) and the fact that the turbines will financially benefit the people in the area. Because you don't know that the owner of the land where the turbines are situated receives a cheque every month.

Your all stuck in the past, welcome to the 21st century of advanced technology and the demand of energy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry...I am a bit confused by the last post? Who exactly is going to benefit financially from the wind turbines apart from the landowners who receive thousands of pounds per year per turbine and the energy companies? The local people get nothing apart from increased energy bills and sleepless nights! And for heavens sake please stop patronising us by dragging out the 'Drax' scenario everytime you want to make a is getting very boring.