Crida Wind Co-operative aimed to establish a single medium-scale turbine on a windy ridge 3 miles west of Bridgnorth in Shropshire.
Crida Wind Co-op is sad to say that it’s application for a single wind turbine has been refused by Shropshire Council. The application was refused under delegated powers and Crida Wind Coop have made the decision not to appeal the decision given the current political climate surrounding renewable energy.
The officer’s report, while recommending refusal, does highlight that visual, landscape, equestrian and tourism impacts cited by objectors are not substantive enough to justify refusal given the benefits of renewable energy generation.
“The level of harm to visual amenities and the landscape is not considered sufficient on its own to justify planning refusal.”
“There is no clear evidence to support the conclusion that the effect on any leisure / tourism interests would on its own be sufficiently adverse to justify planning refusal.”
The report also agreed with us that the turbines would create no unacceptable impacts on local residents in terms of noise, health effects, road access and property values, and that they would not cause problems for bats, birds, or other creatures, or users of public rights of way. The officer’s report also drew attention to the community based nature of the proposal. As with the previous application, there were no statutory consultees objections based on a danger to aviation or views from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Some minimal impacts on the Jack Mytton Way were noted, but these were not considered substantive enough to justify refusal.
Sadly, the report concludes that the impact on heritage, as set out by consultees, outweighs the benefits of the project in terms of renewable energy generation.
We don’t agree and we feel that the evidence provided to substantiate the impact predicted has been minimal; while there has been plenty of evidence demonstrating that there are heritage assets which have a historic interest, whether there is an impact is limited to individuals opinions on whether a view of a turbine anywhere near these will be detrimental in the long term. We don’t think that a small amount of impact on the setting of historic buildings from a turbine one mile away is a good enough reason not to build locally-owned renewable energy generation. We also maintain that the direct and indirect impact of climate change will pose a far greater threat to heritage and tourism in Shropshire than our single, farm-scale turbine.
However, with the current political climate, we feel that there is limited likelihood of an appeal succeeding. The planning system gives relatively little weight to the importance of carbon reduction and little to the desirability of community-owned energy. The announcements on changes to planning legislation surrounding wind turbines also play a role in this decision not to appeal (even though these are cited as not contributing to the final planning decision).
Sharenergy Co-operative and Sustainable Bridgnorth would like to thank all the local people who have supported us in public, especially given the level of hostility shown from some quarters. We would also like to thank the many others who have expressed support in person. We look forward to the day when public and governmental understanding of the dangers of climate change push the balance in favour of renewable energy in this county and country – and we’ll continue to work to bring it forward.
The turbine would have provided clean, green electricity; been owned by members of the community – and becoming a member would have been open to everyone; in addition, the project was going to generate a small income stream which it would have paid into a community fund.
Please also check the answers to frequently asked questions about wind turbines. Sadly, there are many myths about turbines which continue to circulate.
Main points about the project:
* This is not a ‘developer’ project! The turbines will be 100% owned by Crida Wind Co-operative, which anybody can join with a minimum investment of £100. The income from the turbine will return to the members of the co-operative and to an annual community fund of approximately £10,000.
* The site and turbine have been carefully chosen to minimise impact on landscape, wildlife, noise and other concerns.
* We estimate that the turbine will produce around 6% of the electricity used by households in Bridgnorth
* This is a joint project between Sustainable Bridgnorth (a voluntary group committed to reducing CO2 emissions in the Bridgnorth District) and Sharenergy (a not-for-profit co-operative based in Shrewsbury)
* Tackling climate change is a very important issue – not only are 97% scientists in agreement, the most recent IPCC report makes alarming reading. Shropshire is not immune from the effects of climate change. See this report by Natural Resource England for detailed information on the impacts expected locally.
This single turbine is one way for the community of Shropshire to play their part in providing an alternative to fossil fuel power plants which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, saving energy, such as by insulting our homes, also has a contribution to make, though we won’t stop further climate change through energy saving alone.