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Inaccurate Photomontages of Wind Turbines and other tall structures

Because developers and planners have used distorted images of wind turbines, wind farms and other tall structures, a letter of concern has been sent to CPRE’s National Office.

Because developers and planners have used distorted images of wind turbines, wind farms and other tall structures, a letter of concern has been sent to CPRE’s National Office and a variation of that letter has also been sent to the following organisations and MPs:

  • Cornwall Council
  • Natural England
  • Cornwall AONB Partnership
  • Andrew George MP
  • Dan Rogerson MP
  • George Eustice MP
  • Sarah Newton MP
  • Sheryl Murray MP
  • Steve Gilbert MP

The general text of the letter is set out below.

A NATIONAL STANDARD FOR VISUALISATIONS ACCOMPANYING PLANNING APPLICATIONS

CPRE Cornwall is concerned that inaccurate photomontages are being used to support planning applications for tall structures, such as wind turbines, and as a consequence of that concern I am writing to you to request support for the adoption of a more realistic presentation.

Currently, the visualisation of proposed tall structures does not really represent the actual impact that the structures would have on the landscape. This makes it difficult for the public to understand the reality of a proposal, as both distance and height are distorted. It would appear that wind farm developers need only state that their photomontages conform to the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) Guidance for the Visual Representation of Wind Farms, and that this guidance is causing considerable public anxiety as the impact of the structures is reduced. A more accurate visualisation technique is that which is produced using the Highland Council Standard (HCS).

It is absolutely crucial that an accurate visual impression of a proposed structure is presented to the public for consideration, in order to convey the true impact of a proposal. A standard such as the HCS would achieve this. In Cornwall, photomontages using the SNH Guidance have been used extensively by developers to minimise the actual impact of wind turbines and wind farms. This has seriously misled both the public and the planning authority. As a consequence, Cornwall has suffered from too many wind turbines being erected across the county, with the result that the cumulative impact of so many wind turbines has changed the character of Cornwall’s most precious asset – its coast and countryside.

In an effort to safeguard Cornwall’s rural environment from further damage, CPRE Cornwall calls on you all to promote, as a standard, the HCS system of visual representations for tall structures, so that the coast and countryside of Cornwall is protected from development that is harmful and to provide the public with an accurate impression of a proposal that is being considered and determined by the planning authority.

It would be helpful if MPs can implement the promotion of the HCS by using their influence on Ministers, and for Cornwall Council to insist that the HCS is used with all relevant planning applications. As for Natural England and the Cornwall AONB Partnership, it would be appreciated if these important bodies can state publicly that the HCS system is their preference and that it should be used to facilitate the most accurate image that a tall structure would have on surrounding landscapes.

CPRE Cornwall would appreciate a response from all of you to indicate whether you do or will from now on support the use of the HCS system.


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