Wind Turbine in the Millennium Country Park is approved

The Central Bedfordshire Council Development Management Committee approved the Wind Turbine application at its February 1st meeting. 

Marston Moretaine Parish Council had previously objected on the following grounds: 

  • The sheer size of the wind turbine would have a major overbearing impact on the visual amenity of the area;
  • It would detrimentally affect the views from the vale to the surrounding Greensand Ridge; and the panoramic views from the ridge across the entire vale, especially those seen from Ampthill Park which would be materially impaired.
  • There were concerns that close residents may be subject to potential noise emanating from the turbine especially during evenings and night time. Local residents were also concerned about shadow flicker;
  • Given that the country park is a haven for many different species of home and migrating birds the council expressed concern over whether the turbine will alter their natural flight. This also relates to bats and the relationship to the turbine.
  • Concern was expressed regarding the access route to be taken and if this is through the village centre;
  • The Council believe that the wind turbine is located within 20m of a water course – this was contrary to information contained within the application itself;
  • A sub-station was included in this application. It is believed that one was not included in the original application;
  • The site address was incorrect;
  • Since approval of the last application it was drawn to the Parish Council’s attention that the Forest centre is to receive £10,000 of electricity from Covanta. The need for the turbine had therefore been eradicated. 

The position taken by surrounding Parishes was as follows; 

No objection

Cranfield PC
Houghton Conquest PC  

No comments received

Wootton PC
Ridgmont PC
Hulcote and Salford PC
Brogborough PC
Lidlington PC
Bedford Borough Council
Milton Keynes Council
Millbrook PC
Stewartby PC  

Neighbours 

There had been 11 letters of objection from residents and organisations within Marston Moretaine including the Marston Moretaine Action Group, and 3 letters of objection from residents in Lidlington and 1 letter of objection from a resident in Stewartby. 

  • The objections were on the following grounds:
  • The application offers no actual specification regarding height or design of the turbine, so effectively with an application for up to 120.5m turbine, they could erect a 120.5m turbine;
  • The previous application did not include a substation, the proposed size exceeds the size of a sub station allowed under permitted
  • development; concerns regarding the proposed short time scale of the project and the impact this will have on the proper procedures and consideration given to the wildlife currently inhabiting the affected land.
  • An industrial structure in an area where the Country Park is trying to repair a damaged landscape;
  • Existing/ redundant industrial landscape;
  • It will be completely out of scale in relation to its surrounding and dominate the landscape for miles around contrasting with the nearby conservation areas and countryside;
  • Concerns regarding noise and shadow flicker;
  • Concern over the turbine catching fire or falling over; impact on local wildlife;
  • Close proximity to bridle ways and footpaths;
  • Not economically viable as a single turbine 

There were 2 letters of support received one from a resident in Bedford and the second from Covanta on the following grounds: 

  • Amec has an excellent track record in engineering, values sustainability, supports customers to manage climate change through technological solutions, and is committed to reducing our carbon footprint – concerns regarding their ability to build the turbine on time and to an adequate standard are unfounded;
  • The turbine is offering substantial energy, comparable to that of Covanta without the pollution
  • At public information days in the Marston Vale in 2005 and 2006, 87% thought a wind turbine would be a good idea;
  • No significant impact on the Resource Recovery Facility and continue to support renewable energy projects and therefore raises no objection to the wind turbine. 

In the 3 minutes available Hugh Roberts Chair MMAG but speaking as Parish Councillor emphasized; 

  1. That it was wrong to use iconic and large landmarks such as the Cardington Hangers to justify the turbine implicitly suggesting the view had already been degraded.
  2. Account should be taken of the turbine scheduled for Stewartby landfill and the predicted turbine at Brogborough Landfill – a negative cumulative adverse impact and both submitted since the original existing permission.
  3. That the reference to the Covanta application being approved by the IPC – emphasised in the Officers report to the Development Committee – should be discounted as a material consideration as this was still subject to parliamentary appeal and that the turbine should be seen as a money spinner rather than a generator of green electricity.
  4. Asked for a revised traffic plan that would prevent the apparatus being transported through the village.
  5. All of our Central Bedfordshire Councillors spoke on the application raising questions over what would be the actual height of the new application
  6. The visually intrusive nature of the turbine
  7. The statistical insignificant level of public support.
  8. The dilemma of objecting to a smaller turbine for which there was an existing permission which could lead to legal costs of appealed
  9. The contradiction between a forest centre and an essentially industrial structure 

There were strong views expressed in support of the turbine by other Councillors who found it difficult to object to an application smaller than already permitted and this was in my view a decisive consideration.

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