On June 26th, with no prior consultation, Wiltshire Council voted through an amendment to Policy 42 of its Core Strategy Submission Document that aimed to effectively prevent wind turbines from being built anywhere in Wiltshire.
Following feedback from the Wiltshire Clean Energy alliance and others, Wiltshire Council ran a consultation on this amendment. The consultation lasted from 20 September to 1 November 2012.
Our campaign aims to ensure that this unfair planning amendment does not become policy in Wiltshire.
May 2013 Update – Inspector’s Examination of the Wiltshire Core Strategy
On May 16th 2013 the Planning Inspector heard evidence on Core Policy 42: Standalone Renewable Energy Installations, at Trowbridge Civic Centre. Most of the session was taken up with the amendment to the Policy, which imposed mandatory separation distances between wind turbines and housing. Wiltshire Clean Energy Alliance provided written and oral evidence arguing against the amendment at the inquiry.
Others also spoke against the amendment – including Wiltshire Wildlife Trust; the local head of CPRE; Duncan Hames, MP and an independent expert. Apart from officers from Wiltshire Council there was no-one at the table supporting the amendment, although there were several anti-wind people in the audience.
The Core Strategy hearings continue until mid-July 2013, and the Inspector's report is not likely to be made available until much later this year or early 2014. We will publish any updates here as soon as they are available.
Feb 2013 update - Inspector's Examination of the Wiltshire Core Strategy:
The Programme Officer for the Examination of the Wiltshire Core Strategy has scheduled a Pre Hearing Meeting, which is to be held on Thursday 28th February 2013 at 1.30pm within the Civic Centre, Trowbridge. Representors are welcome to attend.
The Pre Hearing Meeting is purely procedural, designed to provide information on the process moving forward and explain how the Examination will be organised and conducted. Detailed elements of the Core Strategy or the merit of individual representations will not be discussed at this meeting.
It's anticipated that the Hearing Sessions will commence on Tuesday 7th of May 2013 at the same venue and could last for approximately six weeks. A programme for the Hearing Sessions together with the Inspector's issues to be covered will follow in due course.
The amendment to Policy 42 was made on health and safety grounds – ostensibly because of the risk of turbine blades shearing off and causing injury. It seeks to impose minimum distances between wind turbines and residential properties, up to 3km for wind turbines over 150m high.
Yet, onshore wind is one of the safest forms of energy generation; statistics show that gas and coal generation have much worse fatality records.
Renewable UK know of no recorded cases of any member of the public being killed or seriously injured during the normal operation of a wind turbine. (Globally, in the decade from 2000 to 2010 only four members of the public were killed in wind–turbine related accidents – a parachutist, a light aircraft pilot, a road traffic accident while a turbine was being transported and a child who was playing by a residential turbine under repair.)
For more information about wind farm safety - Click here
Wiltshire’s responsibility to renewable energy generation
Wiltshire’s carbon emissions are 18% higher than the national average (Wiltshire Wildlife Trust report: The State of the Environment in Wiltshire);
Wiltshire contributes the second lowest level of renewable electricity of all local authority areas in the South West, contributing only 8.9% of the region’s total.
Wiltshire’s potential is 376MW capacity renewable energy by 2020 (Camco Wiltshire Sustainable Energy Planning Study 2011) - the two main technologies identified for achieving this are wind and biomass. Unfortunately Wiltshire’s track record is one of poor performance in respect of previous targets.
The CAMCO study has identified key potential sites in Wiltshire, although this does not take into account the wind resource – which would substantially reduce the number of suitable sites.
Economic benefits of renewable energy
The green sector is one of the only parts of the UK economy which is growing, and the CBI (confederation of British Industry) recently said it could be worth £20 billion to GDP by 2015. Wiltshire deserves to share the potential benefits of this by making the most of our renewable energy resources. Local communities can benefit from wind farms – either through shared ownership; reduced local electricity prices; community funds, or all three. One inspiring example of a local community-owned wind farm is Westmill, just outside Swindon.
To find out more about renewable energy - Click here
To support our campaign - Click here