North Somerset Council – Consultation
Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Generation in North Somerset: Wind Turbines Draft Supplementary Planning Document
Mendip Society Comments:
The document offers fairly comprehensive, if at times un-critical coverage of wind turbines, and the developers’ claims.
However, developers and landowners should inform, consult with and involve local communities and parishes before making an application, under the requirements of the Aarhus Convention, to which the UK is a signatory.
North Somerset should introduce an Environmental Impact Assessment for all industrial wind turbines, to protect itself when decisions go to the Planning Inspectorate.
The case by case approach to dealing with wind turbines leads to wind farms growing by stealth. Each success for a developer triggers another application. Rejections of applications should be accompanied by several conditions (e.g. a separation distance of 1.5 km for those over 97 metres to tip height, a bond covering decommissioning if a developer is successful on appeal, threats to human and wild-life, property values, etc)
The impacts on human health, through noise, flicker, ultra-sound, annoyance etc are now being recognised and monitored by the Worlds Health Organisation, which also recognises the divisions wind turbines create in community harmony. Some countries are now allowing residents to sue developers and planners. (e.g. USA and Australia).
Research by Professor Hughes at Edinburgh University has shown that wind turbines do not deliver what is claimed, do not last as long as claimed, and become rapidly inefficient when maintenance costs mean that owners stop servicing them, because of the decline in tariffs.
Because of North Somerset’s orientation to Mendip, its famous backdrop could be permanently disfigured by the erection of industrial wind turbines. This could have a serious impact on tourism and leisure, key elements in the local economy.