CPRE Cornwall is an enthusiastic supporter of renewable energy and Cornwall has many opportunities to develop these areas – such as wave/tidal power, small scale hydro power, small scale solar power, thermal energy and biomass
However wind energy is in danger in the West Country of industrialising our landscape and wrecking Cornwall’s key asset – its coast and countryside. Wind Energy does have its part in the total mix of renewables. However taxpayer subsidy has distorted the sector and now threatens the rural landcape.
The sector exist primarily because of taxpayer subsidy. Many landowners regard the massive subsidies available as the new agricultural subsidy. The Daily Telegraph for example has publicised the fact that the Prime Minister’s father in law garners £1000 per day in subsidy for having turbines on his country estate.
This subsidy is not free. The cost is added on to the costs of our electricity bills and impacts especially on those in fuel poverty already. Most turbines are overseas owned so taxpayer money floods overseas to Denmark, Sweden and Germany etc.
When turbine applicants claim that a number of turbines will power say 100,000 homes they fail to mention that this requires that the turbines turn 100% of the time. On average they turn less than 25% of the time.
It is debateable that turbines save on carbon emissions. Wind energy cannot be stored and the taxpayer subsidises conventional power suppliers who keep the power stations ‘at the ready’.
Without the contribution from nuclear power stations we would have to litter the whole of Cornwall’s coast and countryside with turbines to make Cornwall self sufficient and then provided the wind blew 24/7
CPRE Cornwall is now being told by tourist providers that turbines are damaging their business. Tourists come to Cornwall to avoid blots on the landscape.
We are informed also that house sales are now falling through when a once pristine view is blighted by these often massive installations.
Decommissioning – currently there is no requirement for a wind turbine company/turbine owner to decommission /remove a turbine at the end of its life in say 15/20 years time? We believe that all involved should provide a bond/insurance cover so that Cornwall’s taxpayers are not left with the clean-up cost.
CPRE Cornwall recommends the following way forward.
That any planning applications for wind turbines in Cornwall should be accompanied by the following documentation:
Accurate photo visualisation of the impact of the turbines. It is often the case that photo montages are distorted/airbrushed to make the proposed turbine appear less intrusive. There exists now a national standard for visualistion ( the Highland Council Standard – HCS). HCS is used widely across the UK and is quoted at Inquiries Regarding Turbine Applications
That no turbines should be permitted within an AONB, AGLV, SSSI/SAC or where they impact visually on such special areas
Any contentious applications should be accompanied by a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) and all applications for large turbines should be accompanied by an EIA.
We ask Cornwall Council to consider how many turbines is ‘enough’ before our coastal/countryside views are damaged irrevocably by their cumulative impact. The feedback we receive from many who approach us is that currently Planning Officers are ‘nodding through’ applications without detailed consideration.
CPRE Cornwall recognizes that Wind Turbines are emotive, But given the 400+ new applications in the pipeleine in Cornwall we believe that ‘Enough is Enough’.
CPRE Cornwall calls for a reduction in taxpayer subsidy for wind turbines.