Posted by: anguslamond | July 7, 2010

Roughtor v Community Windpower Ltd Cheshire)

Help Rescue Roughtor from ‘Davidstow’ ‘Community’ Windpower Ltd (Cheshire) Wind Turbine Desecration and Domination!

First off, it should be  noted that this misleadingly self-styled company – Community Windpower Ltd from Cheshire – that seeks to profiteer at the expense of our environment, landscape and wildlife has nothing to do with Davidstow and the Davidstow community and very little to do with the principles of community participation in ‘green’ technologies. Indeed, such was their persistence with describing themselves as ‘Davidstow Community Windfarms’  and lying to everyone about their mad proposal and the misleading and extensively fraudulent contents of their planning submission that Davidstow Parish Council, who vigorously oppose the proposal, felt it necessary to publish a distancing disclaimer HERE :

‘ ”DAVIDSTOW -COMMUNITY WINDFARM’ – PLEASE NOTE
DAVIDSTOW COMMUNITY WINDFARMS is not a local community project.
It is run solely by Community Windpower Ltd, a profit making business.
The ‘project’ has no connection with any group or individual in Davidstow.’

Roughtor, Brown Willy and the surrounding moorland constitute the Bodmin Moor Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the only landlocked highland moorland part of Cornwall’s AONB designated landscapes. As such it is the closest Cornwall has to wilderness area and should be protected and maintained as such. Such special places provide space for adventure, solace, contemplation and renewal comparatively uncluttered by the complications of modern life. Massive wind turbines dominating the area would wreck that unique character.

Below is the full text of a letter recently submitted to and kindly published in various edited versions by The North Cornwall Advertiser, West Briton and Cornish Guardian. Those who empathise with the views expressed and wish to see the Bodmin Moor AONB respected and protected might wish to support the tenacious, steady and determined efforts of the local group doing most of the work by visiting their site at Facebook  HERE and supporting their efforts in whatever way they can.

Here is my picture from the summit of Roughtor – which I suggest is as important an iconic presence in Cornwall’s landscape as Ayers Rock in Australia – which The North Cornwall Advertiser, West Briton and Cornish Guardian kindly published alongside my recent letter:

Cornwall's Ayers Rock

Cornwall's Ayers Rock

Here is the full text of the letter which was necessarily edited for space reasons when it appeared in The North Cornwall Advertiser, West Briton and Cornish Guardian:

‘Roughtor, Brown Willy and Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the only inland moorland part of Cornwall’s AONB – continue to be under threat of massive intrusion by 20 x 420 feet high wind turbines extending higher than Roughtor and domineering the entire area for miles around. Back in October 2009 just a third of Cornwall Council Strategic Planning Committee at a just-quorate SPC meeting, and to the shock of many, gave conditional approval for this outrageous planning application by self-styled ‘Community’ Windpower Ltd based in Cheshire. The conditional approval ignored the AONB status of Bodmin Moor and went against the clear recommendation of refusal by Cornwall’s Planning Officers and the clear position of refusal expressed previously by a majority of the East Cornwall Planning Committee local elected members.

Outstanding conditions that have not yet been met relate to the threat to the starling population posed by the turbine blades – which projected collision impact calculations indicate would result in the death of upwards of 20,000 starlings per year – and air traffic radar and communications that would be disrupted by the presence of such massive wind turbines in that location. Cornwall Council’s Planning Officers are now preparing a report which will be considered at the next available meeting of Cornwall Council Strategic Planning Committee – possibly July 22nd if the report is completed by then.

The latest shocking proposal by ‘Community’ Windpower Ltd is to get rid of the starlings by – in collusion with the Forestry Commission – chopping down 28,000 trees at Davidstow Woods, thereby denying the starlings their overwintering roost and eliminating their spectacular and world famous murmurations at that location. So here we have so-called ‘green’ energy in direct conflict not only with our landscape and environment but also with established wildlife and carbon sequestering forestry.

The shocking truths don’t stop there. In their planning application and supplementary documentation ‘Community’ Windpower Ltd have repeatedly distorted facts and presented misleading and, in some cases, fraudulent figures to Cornwall Council.

Here are some examples:

1. False and unproven claim for displacement of 113,000 tonnes of CO2 by wind generation per annum. Double what British Wind Energy Association methods of calculation produce.

2. The turbines ‘would power 28,000 homes’. Industrial scale wind turbines only generate power for around 30% of the year at best. They are plugged into the national grid and there is now telling what their intermittent electricity will power.

3. Unreliable and false data in environmental statement (ES). The Environmental Impact Statement (ES), published in May 2008 (V1) was considered by the local ornithological community to be inaccurate, incomplete, contradictory and to under-represent the presence of starlings during the winter months. A new version of the ES, issued in June 2009 (V2), had substantial alterations to the data for birds including increases to many of the records of bird numbers. This data is evidentially false. That important areas frequently used by golden plover within 500m of turbines have not been identified calls into further question the validity of the EIS and therefore any conclusions that have been based upon it. The survey visits, having been only at dawn and dusk, have resulted in many bird movements on the site being unrecorded. Large movements of herring gulls (Red list of Birds of Conservation Concern) have been totally overlooked. Black-headed, lesser black-backed and greater black-backed gulls (Amber list of Birds of Conservation Concern) likewise fly to and fro during the day across the site.

4. Unreliable and false noise data. A protocol in consultation with the planning authority on the siting of the noise-measuring equipment was not followed. All the noise data that was used to measure the impact on local residences is therefore unreliable.

5. Visualisations. Photographs used by ‘Community’ Windpower Ltd sought to minimise landscape impact. One photograph taken from Wilsey Down using a wide angle lens even made a straight road appear like a sharp bend while rendering the massive proposed turbines almost invisible in the landscape!

At a recent Renewable Energy conference on June 4th at Bodelva Pit, I asked Tim German, head of Cornwall Council’s ‘Low Carbon Cornwall’ initiative this question : ‘Tim – Wouldn’t you agree that there are some places in The Duchy Of Cornwall that are too important in cultural, landscape and wildlife terms to spoil with massive industrial scale turbines and that Roughtor, Brown Willy and The Bodmin Moor AONB is one of those special places? ‘

Mr German replied: ‘I am aware that not all agree with wind generated electricity but always make it very clear that for Cornwall we have a wide variety of natural resources for the production of renewable and low carbon electricity. The appropriate balance between the natural habitat and the use of renewable energy is always a consideration for Cornwall Council’

In view of the fact that Cornwall has a broad range of elemental energy sources yet to be exploited it is surely premature, inappropriate and insensitive to consider spoiling Cornwall’s only inland moorland AONB, disrupting and threatening established and spectacular wildlife, dominating the landscape around Cornwall’s world famous iconic twin peaks Roughtor and Brown Willy, and overwhelming such an important area of Cornwall’s cultural heritage landscape in this way. In many people’s eyes Roughtor is as important to Cornwall as Ayers Rock to Australia. It should be respected as such and Cornwall Council should kick this anti-environment, anti-wildlife and anti-landscape proposal by ‘Community’ Windpower Ltd into the long grass for good.

If they don’t we can be certain the fight will go on by all possible means to stop this travesty right next to Roughtor and the Bodmin Moor AONB that brings renewable energy into disrepute and profoundly offends those who wish to see the responsible and sensitive deployment of renewable technologies that properly demonstrate the levels of care and sensitivity so often claimed by their proponents and that this particular proposal so fundamentally fundamentally undermines, contradicts and negates.

The following organisations, notably including Friends Of The Earth, have all vigorously opposed this disgraceful proposed intrusion on Cornwall’s moorland AONB: Advent Parish Council, Altarnun Parish Council, Camelford Town Council, Forrabury & Minster Parish Council, Lesnewth Parish Council, St Breward Parish Council, Friends Of The Earth, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, RSPB, CPRE, Cornwall Council’s Environment Protection Officer, NATS, Cornwall Council Living Environment, The Ramblers Association, Cornwall AONB Partnership, The National Trust, Open Spaces Society, Camel Valley and Bodmin Moor Protection Society, Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society, Cornwall Countryside Access Forum, Cornwall Council’s Own Planning Officers, East Cornwall Planning Committee, STINC.

Their wise opposition to this proposal should be respected and supported by all who care for Cornwall’s precious landscape, environment and wildlife – including Cornwall Council Strategic Planning Committee.

Yours etc

Angus Lamond ‘

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