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MAP: Proliferation of wind turbines in North Devon and Torridge

By NDJPhilippa  |  Posted: September 23, 2013

  • Turbines 20-09-2013

Comments (18)

This map, put together by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), shows the proliferation of wind turbines in Northern Devon compared to the rest of the county.

Penny Mills, the chair of the Torridge group of the CPRE, has compiled the map over several months by regularly checking the district council websites and adding the details each time an application is submitted, refused or withdrawn.

Mrs Mills said: “The map clearly shows the nub of the issue - the Torridge district in north west devon, is becoming saturated with wind turbine proposals - more than any other part of Devon.

“Not only is our landscape being destroyed, but now with the Atlantic Array of course our seascape is threatened too.”

She pointed out that with 52 permitted or operational single turbines in Torridge alone and with eight separate wind farms in the area as well as 25 turbines applications in the planning system at Torridge District Council the problem is becoming an increasing issue in the area.

Mrs Mills added: “'The situation has gone beyond ridiculous now in this part of Devon - it is a never ending onslaught of proposals for industrial scale turbines - noisy, industrial machines which will now start to dominate our once unspoilt rural landscape and destroy our tranquillity.

“I think the trouble is that many turbines which have been approved over the last year, have not yet been constructed, so people just cannot imagine the true size of them or the impact.

“How many more will we have to put up with?”

Last year the Journal reported how the former leader of Torridge District Council Councillor Barry Parsons was angry after finding a Devon County Council document designating Torridge as a prime site for wind turbines to be erected.

At the time Councillor Parsons, who is also a now a cabinet member of Devon County Council, said he had been trying to find out why the district has been increasingly bombarded with wind turbine applications in recent years.

He said: “I have been aware for some time that Torridge has been identified as a key area for renewable energy, namely wind turbines.

“I have been asking various people if they know why this is and then the answer arrived when the Devon Structure Plan was brought to my attention.”

The plan was created by Devon County Council in 2001 and adopted in 2004, and it will last until 2016.

Its “assessments of wind based energy potential diagram” shows where areas of search for wind-based energy production can take place.

This area covers Torridge compared to South Devon where there is no designation.

A year later Mr Parsons said he hasn’t had time to look into how the document was compiled but he added the proliferation of turbines has got to stop.

He said: “Mr real focus is we cannot allow this proliferation – people come here for the peace and quiet, they don’t’ want these things in their faces.

“I just want the government to put every effort into tidal energy as I think the country is really missing a trick here.

“In Torridge we have a least twice as many turbines as the rest of the county and it is not fair.”

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  • ThomasMore  |  September 26 2013, 3:00PM
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  • ThomasMore  |  September 26 2013, 11:30AM

    niceonenigel https://http://tinyurl.com/6mk8j4t A little optimism goes a very long way...

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  • NiceoneNigel  |  September 25 2013, 8:12AM

    Can I ask who will pay for all of this? Please tell me what would happen if EVERY person in the UK had solar panels and free energy from the grid and a ludicrous payment for generating it? It will never be allowed to happen. We have had 2 days now of no wind and not a single turbine has moved and I can see 140 of the damn useless things. Not even enough to boil one kettle let alone a street of kettles. The letter written by Professor Salt is the same person but this has been written very recently after more studies and it has been written in light of the courts in Australia wanting more research done. It is no good engineers saying that people are not affected by turbines when clearly some are. While not every is, it is unfair and immoral to continue to allow people to suffer without giving them the means to move. Sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. My friend who has suffered with excessive noise from a neighbour's small turbine has at last got the courts to get it taken down. Not before her husband suffered heart problems and stress due to the fact that they had 3 years of disturbed sleep. He is an HGV driver. Are you happy with the fact that many people find it difficult to carry out their daily duties because they are so tired? There is no compensation for people living with this misery every day, no compensation for the guest houses and B&B's whose businesses are suffering. I note that compensation is offered for people living near to new motorways, or new rail routs (HS2) but nothing to people who live near to wind farms. These are the things that must change if you are talking about political issues. We need a fairer society. Can I ask you if you are one of the people living within 2km of a wind farm? Do you have a turbine 600m from your doorstep? Is your home devalued? Are you sleeping at night? Anyway, I am off to a meeting now which will be attended by the ex director of the Scottish grid to hear about the problems associated with renewables and in particular the folly of wind. As I said when this conversation started, Devon is not bad yet even though some think it is. My daughter lives at Torrington so I do visit the area often. Come to Scotland and see what you could live with if you get your precious wind farms. I guarantee you would not like what you see and what we have now is the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands more in planning. Where we are going to grow crops for food if we keep plastering thousands of acres with solar panels goodness only knows. Perhaps we can all take pills. If more R&D was carried out we could find a better and cheaper way of producing our energy than paying out vast sums for intermittent power.

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  • K_Jordan  |  September 24 2013, 11:21PM

    More generally, anyone concerned about the cost of renewables in comparison with fossil fuels should take into account that oil prices are rising and will continue to rise as the resource decreases/becomes more remote to extract. Plus there's the political instability that dwindling supplies will likely cause. Many of the financial problems associated with renewable energy are actually political issues, not an inherent fault with the technology - e.g. pensioners with poor insulated housing and not enough of a pension. Of course switching to a new energy supply costs money - but it is relatively easy to maintain, and being a fairly new technology is expected to become more efficient and cost effective with time, in comparison to fossil fuels that will become less cost effective with time. The issue of the adequacy of renewable energy has been addressed in previous comments, so I wont repeat myself. Suffice to say not having sun at night really isn't going to cause much of an issue! Is the UK capable of running solely on renewables right now? No. Could it be, with the right combination of sources in addition to a conversion to more sustainable lifestyles, buildings, etc. Absolutely. There's a reason why it's called a transition, or 'move' towards renewables. It would go a whole lot faster and a whole lot smoother if it weren't be unnecessarily held up.

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  • K_Jordan  |  September 24 2013, 11:21PM

    NiceoneNigel, if you'd actually read my comment properly before stating "You are plainly wrong. You have not done your research properly" and I "don't know what [I'm] talking about", you would have noticed that the letter that you quote is the same one that sandman18 posted a link to, and I responded to. Take a look at my previous comment again, it's right there in paragraph 3. I referred to the original research done by A. N. Salt (not an opinion in a letter, which does not constitute evidence. Here's a link to the article: http://tinyurl.com/nnsse8s), research which provides no evidence of negative health impacts. It actually only suggests that because cells of the inner ear can sense infrasound (which is also produced by car traffic, aeroplanes, etc.), there is the theoretical possibility that this may lead to some as yet unknown health impact. As yet, there is no evidence of such impacts. In fact there is only evidence that contradicts A. N. Salts theory, which he himself acknowledges in his 2010 article (http://tinyurl.com/pcomatu ) "We realize that some individuals (such as fighter pilots) can be exposed to far higher levels of infrasound without undue adverse effects. " (p.19). I'm surprised that academic scientists are making claims in letters with no data to support it, it's incredibly unprofessional. Perhaps certain more sensitive individuals are being adversely affected? Who knows? Peoples' physiology does vary. I for one welcome more research and concrete data. Presumably we would also find cases near train stations, airports, and people working in high infrasound environments etc. I'd be interested to see some data collected from individuals both in high infrasound areas (including a percentage of those with health issues vs. those with none) as well as a comparison with a low infrasound area/control group, since the mentioned health issues do also occur away from windfarms. When mentioning heath impacts, no one states those from fossil fuels e.g. respiratory issues in both workers and those close to coal plants for example (see http://tinyurl.com/oza8t2t or http://tinyurl.com/pttzbua or http://tinyurl.com/pg5s4gq). We all know about the dangers of oil production/spills, and nuclear of course.

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  • NiceoneNigel  |  September 24 2013, 3:39PM

    You obviously know nothing about operating the national grid. I have a small economical car to run, I cannot afford to change my oil boiler and I will not force others to pay for my solar panels. That is what you are advocating. Totally immoral and thoughtless. If you are happy making the poor pay twice as much for their energy from onshore and three times s much from offshore then that is for you to be happy with. Personally I hate seeing my mother suffer I the cold because she cannot afford solar panels. She lives on a pension and is being forced to subsidise people like you who can afford to lower their energy bills. It is all at the expense of others. Talk about selfish. As for buying new cars - do you know what the carbon footprint of that is. Any idea where or how all these panels and turbine blades are going to be dumped when we have no use for them? Oh, I forgot, probably dumped back in China where the rare earth minerals came from in the first place. What a great idea. In the meantime we have to have gas and coal and nuclear so we are funding two systems. That makes a lot of sense. Why do you think Germany are building so many coal fired power stations They cannot manage their grid with renewables. If market forces were allowed to get on with the job in hand ie finding ways to provide reliable energy without the subsidies which distort the market then we might find a better way forward. Throwing vast sums of money at useless wind turbines and solar which doesn't work at night is futile. Let's get into the grown up world for goodness sake before we get left looking like a third world country. We have progressed through life to make life better not worse. Nobody wants a world where we have power cuts and have to endure cold homes and go back to living in the dark ages with all that entails but I think we are quickly heading that way. Centrica have just announced that they are puling out of a scheme to build more storage plants for gas meaning that we are going to be reliant on gas for foreign shores for longer and open to higher prices. How stupid and short sighted. Get this - we will always need fossil fuels one way or another for a very long time yet. We do not need to subsidise an inefficient system such as wind. As I stated before, not one turbine around me has moved all day today. What is fuelling our grid?

  • ThomasMore  |  September 24 2013, 1:50PM

    "Niceonenigel. Nuclear, we depend on it and it is very cheap fuel, though it doesn't stop there does it. Do you know what sort of a footprint a reactor leaves? It is a step in the right direction though, and who wouldn't hope for an eventual sustainable clean free fuel for everyone. You suggest we resort to gas then?? Instead of providing a carbon neutral means of power production we are to go back to fossil fuels. This is not forward thinking is it? "Impossible to manage the grid with renewables" We do it with small micro-grid systems, and the national grid is doing it right now. Yes the national grid is a good bit more complicated, but it's not impossible, far from it, and actually more and more of a reality every day. I do have hope for the rollout of smart meters and small battery storage systems, both to help stabilise the grid, and to offer a degree of security for everyone involved. If you have insulated your home, and are outspoken in the world of renewables then you will have made provision to generate your own energy perhaps? Do you have solar PV on your roof? or would you consider it? Would you heat your house with locally available sustainable sources? I'm not sure what you mean when you say "you have no sunshine". Clients of ours live entirely from solar in the very North of Scotland, and quite comfortably, they are not connected to the grid, and live around the power available to them at the time. You are forced to live within your means when you don't have a choice. It is always heartwarming to see our clients alter their lifestyles in order to maximise the use of energy that they produce. I doubt "people like us" will moan when there is no power, we'll be the ones looking to help. I live off-grid, and encourage anyone to do so, it's very rewarding. Energy security can be in the smallest form, if you're willing to go as far as accepting that the age of fossil fuel is over, and are willing to accept that there is a growing problem, that cannot in any way shape or form be tackled with the use of fossil fuels, and that you consider that we all hope for the ultimate green energy regardless of the interim problems we face both in technology and economics, then and only then the tables may turn. If you are concerned about lining the pockets of wealthy members of our country through heightened energy bills and unsightly wind turbines, and you don't think it's a very good idea that we employ dozens of diesel generators to provide power when there is none, I'd suggest you get on the bandwagon and apply some solar technology to your roof at the very least, this instead of (for example) purchasing a new car. You'd be doing your bit for you, and more importantly others around you.

  • NiceoneNigel  |  September 24 2013, 12:52PM

    Thomas More. It is impossible to manage the grid with renewable energy and we need constant backup from coal, gas or nuclear. This is a fact. Wind power is expensive. Right now, I am looking at 140 gigantic wind turbines and not one is moving. We also don't have any sunshine here. Where is the power coming from? It is from gas, coal and nuclear. Much of our nuclear power comes from France. Surely it would be better to have our own supply of gas which is in abundance under our own soil than to rely on imports as we do now. When there is not enough power the government is ready to get large industrial sites of diesel generators to take over. Oh yes, that's saving the planet by reducing CO2!!! These generators are going to cost a fortune to run and this is yet another increasing cost which will be past down to the consumer. Good old British public footing the bill for something which we don't actually need. The future will be clean nuclear and in years to come we will wish we had spent all the billions of pounds on research for something which will work without back up and something which is clean and reliable. Don't quote Fukushima,3 mile island etc. All these nuclear facilities were not run properly. France manages perfectly well as would other modern, responsible societies. One way to certainly see the lights go out would be to rely on renewables. Please don't ask people like myself who have insulated their home but who are on a fixed income to line the pockets of farmers and landowners and rich foreign developers just to stay warm. I can just see people like you moaning when there is no power. Great, bring it on and then watch the tables turn.

  • ThomasMore  |  September 24 2013, 12:38PM

    Isn't it difficult to please everyone. Many a scenario with our most precious commodity can change a person's perspective in where this energy comes from now, and more importantly where it will come from in the future. I do find it difficult to read posts as below from people who do not have a counter proposal for the energy crisis that this country faces in the immediate future. Yes tidal energy is plausible, as is wave power, but it is a fact that these technologies are not yet ready to supply the power we need now, and that although wind is an intermittent source, it is a source which is abundant and technically achievable, that is available at night, and most prolific during high demand seasons. It's ironic that the people who are objecting to large scale wind power are the people that live in the areas that will be first to suffer if wind power is not utilised in some form now. I specialise in off-grid systems, where a "small" wind turbine can mean the difference of whether you have heat and power at the time of year when this energy demand is greater, or whether you will have to use an expensive and polluting diesel generator. I doubt any of the commenters on here would disagree with the fact that a small holding has the right to produce energy by way of the natural resource most available, balanced out with solar PV and batteries to ensure a continued supply of green energy to secure their energy costs and supply for the foreseeable future. But we are not talking about a small-holding in the middle of Exmoor, we are talking about people who don't have the inclination to source their own energy, or more importantly that don't have the choice. So we are back to generating electricity through our coal fired power stations (still the biggest producer of power) then are we? I do believe, that if you let it, there can be adverse effects from living in such proximity to a large wind turbine. People have been living next to airports, motorways, industrial areas etc for years, and there is merit in the fact that noise can negatively affect you. But then, if the governing body at the time insisted in an expansion of a motorway or dual carriageway to ensure that you were able to get to an airport in reasonable time, you would object to begin with, but eventually grow to except the development and even be glad of it if you, one day, are late to catch a plane or want to go on holidays. Regardless of the adverse effect on local ecology, or on the view from your back garden, you do enjoy the benefit of 21st century living. No doubt you would have flicked your high speed kettle on for a quick brew before you left. I do wonder if everyone's opinions were to change if there were consistent power outages in the South West. If you live in the middle of a town, then utility power (aside from the solar panels on your roof) will be essential to your everyday life. If there is not enough conventional power to go around then what is the interim answer? I would hope that all objectee's on large scale renewables have done the right thing and ensured that their home is well insulated, that they are conservative with heat, and aware that when you flick the TV on, a huge amount of thought, technological achievement and sacrifice is involved and you realise that they have a part to play. If that is to live within site of a wind farm, in a few years time you may be glad of the output when you need it most. When it comes to clean fuel, energy needs to be extracted from areas where that fuel is readily available. I do chuckle a little when the author's comment states that wind power is prolific in this area. I'm not going to get into the financial incentives, it's not worth the effort. But when it comes to energy, it is all a question of balance and if you put aside you own grievances for just a minute, you might realise there needs to be a more open mindedness to the issues we all face.

  • NiceoneNigel  |  September 24 2013, 9:36AM

    Living close to a wind farm consisting of 52 100m turbines and with another eleven consented which will be 110m high would like to support 'Sandman' in his observations. Wind turbines serve no good purpose. Germany has found their CO2 emissions have actually risen and they have far more renewable energy than the UK has. Their energy bills have risen dramatically too and many are in dire fuel poverty with thousands having their supplies turned off. With respect K Jordan and Julia Michell do not know what they are talking about. Trying living with a large turbine 600m from your door. I think you would rapidly change your mind if you had to. Are you telling us all that you would be prepared to put up with the noise, shadow flicker and the value of your home be either wiped out completely or reduced by at least 50%? How very generous of you both. You might like the look of them from a distance but I can assure you that 600m is not far enough away not to feel the side effects of them. Please get into the real world. K Jordan states that there is no adverse effect on people's health. You are plainly wrong. You have not done your research properly. The following quote is from an open letter written by Professor Alec Salt from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. "Experimentally, we know that when infrasonic stimuli are applied to the ear acoustically, via the ear canal and stapes, they generate large electrical responses (Salt et al. J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 133:1561). Yet the sizeable pressures (measurable within the cochlea in mmHg) associated with heartbeat and respiration do not generate significant electrical responses. I think the time has come when engineers who apparently know little about the physiology of the ear should not be making pseudo-authoritative statements about physiological and clinical aspects of low frequency and infrasound stimulation. Your comments not only fail in their stated goal to "clear up any confusion over the health impact of wind farms", they are simply false and imply that infrasound from external sources such as wind turbines has negligible consequences to people, when we know that is not true. It is appalling that rather than trying to find the scientific basis and seek solutions to the problem of wind turbine infrasound, the Chairman of the AAAC is peddling misinformation in an attempt to misdirect those who trust their guidance. In my view, your statements are so misleading they need to be retracted." In Australia they are just beginning to realise just how many lies the acoustics team make when putting in their planning statements for wind farms. This is going on all over the UK too and particularly in Scotland where we have two thirds of the turbines in the UK. I know of people who cannot get estate agents to take their properties onto their books because there will be NO interest in them. We have people who will be living in the shadow of a wind farm consisting of 99 turbines each 130m high. The noise and visual intrusion will be a nightmare. Apart from the look of turbines (which may not be important to some) are the costs. This whole policy of giving out lucrative subsidies is disgusting when it is the poorest in society paying for it. Poor people cannot afford to have solar panels and reap the benefits - no, they just pay for everyone else to enjoy it. Poor people cannot afford to pay twice as much for their energy from onshore turbines and three times for offshore. More people will fall into debt this year than ever and more elderly people will die from the cold. In a modern society this is immoral and uncaring. Are we really saying this is acceptable? I despair of what people will do to 'save the plant' when all they are really doing is killing millions of birds and bats, destroying mammals on the ground and making people's lives a misery. If you are happy with that then so be it.

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