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'Looming Presence' of the First Turbine
by Ashby Rambler - 15:40 on 01 April 2016
Approaching the group, from any direction, along roads or footpaths including
the Jurassic way, one would certainly be aware of the looming presence of the
(Appeal Decision, 13 July 2012)
Having just returned from what was (once) his Favourite Local Walk, the Rambler would certainly agree with the above statement.
The 'looming presence' of the first turbine to be erected was not in doubt when viewed from the byway leading from West Haddon Road to the Jurassic Way and Winwick. Neither was it other than obvious from the section of the Jurassic Way which leads to Honey Hill.
The adverse visual effect of these huge turbines on the unique character of our landscape is now no longer speculative – it's becoming devestatingly real and will be with us for a minimum of 25 years.
The decision to allow this development was apparently based on the premise that the environmental and economical benefits of sustainable energy should carry more weight than local aesthetic considerations – the removal of one turbine from the plan enabled the development to go ahead.
Whilst walking past the industrial activity on the site, it suddenly became clear to the Rambler what the problem with this argument was.
Walking in the countryside is certainly of benefit to individuals but it does not, to the best of the Rambler's knowledge, have a European Council directive to support it by demanding a required minimum percentage of walking in an undamaged rural environment by 2020. Renewable sources, however, have a legal obligation to meet a 15% target by 2020 and the Renewable Energy Strategy (2009) also demands that 30% of electricity must be supplied by renewables by that date. This results in a playing field at most wind farm enquiries which is far from level.
However much those considering the appeal try to quantify the damage to amenities, landscape, heritage etc. the legal requirements and economic arguments will win – hence the proliferation of turbine clusters in Northamptonshire.
Whether wind power will actually be efficient enough to assist in reaching the required percentages is, of course, unknown – projections conflict.
Unfortunately, the turbines are going to be there whether or not they meet the legal requirements - perhaps somebody should have made their continued existence conditional on their performance by 2020?
Anyway, we have the monsters now and must learn to live with them – but it's a hard pill to swallow!
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