A Great Big Thank You
22 August 2013
We are pleased to announce that Infinergy and Tresoc will not be appealing the decision given by SHDC to refuse the application for two 100M Turbines at Luscombe Cross. They have also withdrawn the second proposal to erect a single 77M turbine.
We at SHOCT would like to say a huge thank you to all that helped with this campaign. Together we did make a difference!
Here are the details of the press release given by TRESOC
Totnes Community Wind Farm Latest
Lost opportunity for clean energy in community ownership
Following the disappointing decision by South Hams District Council in February 2013 to reject the Totnes Community Wind Farm planning application for two 100m turbines, Totnes Renewable Energy Society’s commercial partner, Infinergy, has spent the past 6 months assessing the cost and risk of appealing the decision.
During this period, Infinergy also completed a feasibility study for a single, 77m turbine on the furthest spot of the two locations in relation to Harberton Church. This would have been more acceptable on landscape grounds and also would have addressed the concerns of those who felt the scheme was too big.
The TRESOC Board and the overwhelming majority of its members were keen to support an appeal, or a smaller single turbine, but Infinergy’s internal Investment Committee determined that the commercial risk was too high, and therefore the proposal will not be moving forward.
In the words of Infinergy’s Managing Director Esbjorn Wilmar: “It is the view of Infinergy that a planning application (for a single turbine) would be unlikely to achieve planning consent by SHDC and therefore we would face the prospect of an appeal. Given the resources of the local opposition groups we expect any appeal to be comprehensive in scope and likely determined at an inquiry. An appeal would introduce additional costs which are difficult to determine and that we simply cannot accommodate in our development budget.
I appreciate that this decision will be disappointing to TRESOC, as it is to Infinergy.”
The planning officer’s report for the Totnes Community Wind Farm application confirmed that with regard to public interest and the outlook of local residents, particularly regarding health and noise, there was no cause to turn down the application. However, the perceived impact on the local landscape – the view – remained a significant obstacle.
Following one of nine discussion groups organised by TRESOC over the summer to provide updates to members as they were happening, David Ellison, Harberton resident and TRESOC member said: “Naturally, I’m very disappointed. TRESOC’s members were completely behind TCWF.”
TCWF would have met the electricity demand for 2,500 homes and a 77m turbine, with a maximum output of 500 kW, would have been sufficient for just over 250 homes.
Ian Bright, TRESOC MD, said “TRESOC is grateful to Infinergy for the substantial investment they have made in this innovative joint venture with TRESOC to generate clean, green energy in community ownership. The planning application was prepared to the highest professional standards and their work in informing the community was exemplary.
Local residents, both for and against, have learnt a lot about the realities of wind power through following this application.
While I regret that we have been denied the opportunity to test the grounds for refusal through the appeal process I fully understand Infinergy’s commercial reasons for withdrawing from the project.”
Large on-shore wind turbines remain the lowest cost source of renewable energy in the UK and TRESOC is ready to explore other wind power projects with local communities as opportunities arise. Meanwhile, the end of TCWF campaigning activities in February has enabled the TRESOC team to focus on development of other community-owned renewable energy projects in biomass, tidal, hydro and solar power. TRESOC looks forward to sharing details in the near future.
‘TRESOC DOES NOT SPEAK FOR THE COMMUNITY BUT ONLY FOR SOME
OF THEIR MEMBERS – THIS IS not A COMMUNITY WIND FARM ‘
DECISION DAY HAS ARRIVED
PLEASE COME ALONG TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE CAMPAIGN
Wednesday 13th February 2013
The case officer’s report recommends a REFUSAL
The planning application is being presented to the SHDC Development Management Committee . The meeting starts at 1.00pm
This is a public meeting and members of the public will be admitted to the Council Chamber from 12.45pm. Space will be limited so early arrival is advised for those intending to attend.
THE LUSCOMBE CROSS APPLICATION HAS FINALLY BEEN SUBMITTED
It is listed on the South Hams Council website under planning:
APPLICATION Ref: 23/1990/12F East of A381, South of Langridge Cross, Harberton
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JOIN US TO OBJECT FORMALLY
We are a group of local residents in the Harberton and Harbertonford area who believe that the proposal by TRESOC (Totnes renewable energy society) for wind turbines at Luscombe Cross is unacceptable and should be opposed. We are also concerned about the possible spread of such applications in the South Hams.
We would like to emphasise that we all support natural energy technology contributing to our energy needs alongside the existing conventional methods. But we are also aware of the very low efficiency (less than 30%) of wind turbines’ performance, due to the intermittent and unpredictable nature of the wind.
Wind farms are hopelessly unprofitable without the massive Government subsidies being offered to boost returns on the sale of electricity. Prices are expected to rise greatly following the start of forced closures of coal and gas fired power stations under European law. This artificially induced price hike will make the subsidised wind energy tariffs appear acceptable.
The principal beneficiaries of this will be the owners of Infinergy, with a minimum 51% stake, and the Government subsidised profits will flow to Holland, the home of the parent company. Furthermore, the electricity generated is not just locally for the benefit of Totnes, as it forms part of the whole grid.
The group have listed potentially negative aspects of wind turbines and all with a high impact rating. They include:
The visual impairment of the landscape, at close range (affecting certain properties), medium range (affecting views from the nearby A381, Totnes and Harberton) and long range (from nationally significant viewpoints, e.g. Dartmoor and much of the South Hams area of outstanding beauty.
Noise disturbance, set against years old and inadequate noise regulations, affecting some local residents.
Related to this there is the lethal effect of the air pressure fluctuations on bats, who, unfortunately, are attracted to fly close. South Hams has significant bat colonies within range of such a threat. Local birds, such as owls and migratory birds such as swallows and house martins are also placed at risk”
Wind turbine blades are heavy (about 6 tons) and can achieve speeds of well over 150mph at their outer ends. Ice can be thrown hundreds of yards (evidence has shown) in certain wintry conditions, and the A381 and other small roads are easily within range. If a section of a blade broke loose, such an object could weigh ½ ton and be released at 150mph – We are all aware of the damage one single straw bale can cause…