The wind? In your face!

Friday 21st November 2014 12:00 am
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Robert Ireland, of Dittisham, near Dartmouth, writes: I am writing in response to the article and letters regarding the proposed Fine Energy wind turbine at Downton Park Farm in your November 14 edition. While I can agree with much of the content of the article, I believe that the rush to build large-scale renewables installations of any type across our precious landscape with no proper strategy is not the way forward. I wish to voice my strong ­disagreement to a key claim made that the turbine would not affect anyone. Clearly this is not the case, for two important reasons. The visual impact would be very significant and would inevitably degrade an unspoilt and rural location. At 148ft, placed on land approximately 520ft above sea level, making the top of the structure at a height of 670ft, this is a very large moving structure on the skyline overlooking a good proportion of higher Dart-mouth and clearly visible from parts of Kingswear, the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the river Dart, the Dittisham road etc. From the south it would be by far the largest man-made object in sight, changing fundamentally the character of what is ­currently a very undeveloped hillside. What is more, at only 500 metres south of houses at Downton, effectively dominating views from there, it is difficult to argue that the ­turbine would not be overlooked by anyone. The second reason is the ­nuisance value from noise. The turbine at Downton would have four times the output of the turbine at Newlands Farm near Capton and is more than 100 metres closer to the nearest habitation. Even Capton ­residents find the noise intrusive and difficult to live with, ­especially in lower wind conditions. The noise disruption from a much larger turbine situated closer is likely to be very significant for residents of Downton, Chipton and Lapthorne at the very least, and in certain conditions is likely to travel further. I would also like to point out that the change in government guidelines states that the council now has to take into account the view of local residents. These were made extremely clear at the recent Dittisham Parish Council meeting and I hope that they are given proper weighting when any forthcoming ­application is considered by the planning committee. While clearly I am responding to this specific turbine, I am as concerned by the lack of overall policy or guidelines, which could result in four wind turbines being erected within two miles of each other in the next 12 months. As a footnote, it is worth mentioning that there is severe doubt about the efficiency of onshore wind turbines at all, so any claims about reducing net carbon emissions should be treated with caution. Turbines have to be backed up by ­conventional power and there is evidence that the stop-start nature of this actually adds to Co2 emissions. EG Germany increased renewable power by 10 per cent in 2012 and also increased Co2 emissions by two per cent.

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