Forest Centre Wind Turbine Public Consultation Open

Country Park Wind Turbine Planning Application – Deadline for Comments June 4th 2010

You can enter your comments on line at:

In Application Quick Search enter the application reference 10/01359 then click search

Then on the green highlighted line that says Application Number CB/10/01359/FULL click on the blue CB/10/01359/FULL

Then scroll down to the green highlighted line saying Public Representations and click on Submit A Public Online Comment

Then enter your unique consultee number from the letter you have from the Council OR follow instructions if you do not have a number

MMAG have submitted the following objection to the planning application:

The Marston Moreteyne Action Group (MMAG) wish to make representations with regard to this proposal for the erection of a wind turbine within the Marston Vale Millennium Country Park. MMAG is a group of volunteers committed to ensuring sustainable development and campaigns against proposals which threaten our rural landscape and our distinct village community.

Our comments are as follows:

(1) On the driveway into the Country Park there is a billboard which declares, “Its about using trees and woodland to repair a damaged landscape….and you can help”. How does the erection of a wind turbine – an industrial structure contribute to the reforestation of either the Country Park or the Marston Vale ?

(2) Page 11 of the Design and Access Statement describes the area surrounding the site of the proposed turbine as existing/redundant industrial landscape with several large chimneys located on the opposite of Stewartby Lake which are 70-80m high. Reference is also made to the Energy from Waste plant proposed for Rookery Pit with a flue height of 115m and the number of electricity pylons running across the area. Is this a description of a country park or an industrial estate – if so what has been the point of the country park ? Has it failed in its core objective to restore the previous clay workings landscape ? Is this a true depiction of what visitors see when they walk around the Park ? The dimensions of the turbine has certainly come as a shock to residents who have no recollection of being consulted on the scale of what is proposed.

(3) The proposed turbine will be up to 120.5m to blade tip anticipating a hub height of 85m and a rotor diameter of 71m and the turbine will be situated on a slightly raised area of land at 41m AOD. It will be completely out of scale in relation to its surroundings and dominate the landscape for miles around contrasting with the nearby conservation areas and countryside.

(4) The planning statement (Page 4) makes commendable reference to the need for renewable energy and the challenge of climate change and the contribution of the turbine generating enough electricity for the Forest Centre and approximately 907 homes. How will these 907 homes benefit from this green electricity and how will they be selected ? If wind turbine technology is to play a part in the generating of green electricity in the Marston Vale will this be the first of other wind turbines either in the Park or elsewhere? If so how many ? Should Central Bedfordshire Council be concerned that following this precedent there will be multiplicity of applications ?

(5) The Planning Statement (Page 14) refers to the Renewable Obligations Order which places an obligation on electricity suppliers to provide an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources. In effect this leads to a cross subsidy to render wind technology affordable. To what extent is any financial analysis in the application dependent on continuation of this subsidy ? The wind turbine is also expected to provide a guaranteed income for the Marston Vale Trust through the supply of electricity to the National Grid at a commercial scale – is the primary motivation here commercial or environmental ?

(6) The planning application makes reference to the Draft Over arching National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1) and the Draft National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy Infrastructure (EN-3) which have yet to be placed before Parliament. There has been a change of Government which may issue alternative statements – should this application not be deferred until the new planning rules are clarified ?

(7) The application attempts to reassure but not entirely discount the potential impacts from noise and shadow flicker all based on modelling. However residents have all commented on how surprisingly noisy these machines can be continuously especially during the night when there is no background masking noise and distressing for those with tinnitus.

So we will certainly see and hear it – whether we will benefit from any green electricity is less clear and of course that does depend on the wind blowing !

Hugh Roberts

Chair MMAG


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