Wind Project Needs Support
HCC Planning committee. Wednesday 15th June 10.00 am Brockington, Hereford.
Agenda item 11: Wind turbine at Docklow. This is an important project because the size, 300kW, is in the range of scales suitable for a village or community owned project. Although this one, the first in the county beyond the highly contested Reeves Hill, is a private development, the owner is a local family farmer and the scheme enjoys wide local support. Success with this will have an empowering effect on anyone considering starting a community project. A single opposition household have created alarm and confusion among the neighbours, and produced a critical document attacking the application which has swayed the officers against it, they have recommended refusal on the grounds that any environmental, economic and social benefits do not outweigh the landscape damage. If this view is allowed to prevail it will rule out any large or medium scale wind energy projects anywhere in the county. I have written a detailed criticism of the officers comments - here is the summary -ask me if you would like a full copy.
• 1.1 The argument for refusal is based on the plea that the overall benefits do not justify the supposed detrimental impact on the landscape. The assessment of benefits fails to include business rates, the retention of energy expenditure in the local economy, and the contribution to public policy targets at private risk.
• 1.2 Despite an impact study, using agreed methodology, finding the impact acceptable, officers disagree with it's conclusions.
• 1.3 Undue weight is given in the officers report to a critique commissioned by an objector wherein much of the evidence presented is in fact irrelevant; the officers arguments based on it show a lack of understanding of wind energy technology.
• 1.4 Officers' comments reveal a conceptual framework in denial about the scale of adaptation needed to prepare for the environmental, economic and social changes brought about by peak oil and climate change, despite clear national policy drivers. Value laden language is used throughout.
• 1.5 If the officers' interpretation of existing HCC UDP and HMG policies is allowed to prevail it will in effect rule out any medium and large scale wind energy projects in the county - despite an existing HCC report showing wind as a major contributor to meeting legally binding renewable energy targets. Meanwhile, if you are able to attend the meeting on Wednesday to show your support please do. If you are able to do contact any members of the cte.
http://councillors.herefordshire.gov.uk/mgMeetingAttendance.aspx?ID=3650 and let them know we want this and put whatever argument you wish. Next time (hope!) it may be one of our own projects that needs support.