Molesworth Wind Farm Action Group
Say NO to the Molesworth Wind Farm - Bythorn, Molesworth, Keyston, Brington, Clopton, Old Weston, Titchmarsh, Catworth, Leighton Bromswold
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Grounds for Objection - Moving Shadows & Shadow Flicker

The principle reasons for rejection are:

  1. The proposed development appears to place two 126m meter tall wind turbines approximately 200-300 meters from public bridleways including Warren lane. This contravenes guidance from the British Horse Society (BHS) who recommend a minimum set back of three times the turbine height to prevent horses being disturbed by the rotating blades and the moving shadows this can cause. In this case three times the height would equate to about 400m.
  2. The developer confirms (Page 351 in Volume 1 or the Environmental Impact Statement) that shadow flicker is expected to occur at "Boundary House" and Tichmarsh Lodge both west of Bythorn.
  3. The proposed development appears to place a Turbine (T6) on a bearing of approximately 130 degrees from Jolly Hills Farm in Molesworth (according to Google earth). This suggests that it is theoretically possible for moving shadows from T6 to fall on that property. T6 appears to be about 760M from Jolly Hills farm house itself and as this is less than 10x the rotor diameters it appears shadow flicker might occur at that property at certain times of the year. This contradicts the assertion by the developer that no shadow flicker will occur at this property.
  4. The site layout shows proposed turbine locations, and the proposed distance from site features such as foot paths and bridleways, however if permission is granted for "micrositing " this would allow the turbines to be moved closer to these features contrary to planning guidance. Approval should be subject to a planning condition that prevents micrositing encroaching on minimum recommended setback distances.
  5. The proposed development places several 126m meter tall wind turbines (Turbines Numbered 2 and 6) approximately 260-300 meters from the former cruise missile silos on RAF Molesworth. This will result in moving shadows falling on a historically important site that symbolises the cold war era.
  6. At the time of writing it's not possible for us to be certain but the proposed site layout appears to place several turbines in alignment such that a person using public footpaths may be exposed to shadow flicker from multiple turbines simultaneously. This may result in exposure to shadow flicker frequencies that are higher than normal. This is contrary to advice from experts on photosensitive epilepsy who say "The layout of wind farms should ensure that shadows cast by one turbine upon another should not be readily visible to the general public".
Background

Impact on Horse Riders

The following includes quotes from advice provided by the British Horse Society :

"The horse and rider unfamiliar with the area may react in a potentially dangerous manner to any of the following characteristics which can arise from the operation of a wind turbine:

  • sudden appearance in the horses' sight line of turning blades,
  • the low frequency noise emitted by the turbines punctuated by the "whoomph" as the blades pass the nadir point and sometimes said to be felt rather than heard,
  • shadows sweeping the ground or bushes/trees in sunny weather,
  • the unexpected starting up of the turbine if the wind builds up as the horse approaches."

"The British Horse Society adopted a policy in December 1995 which recommended a minimum distance between the base of any turbine and the nearest equestrian route, of 200 metres. However that distance was arrived at when the average height of proposed turbines was between 40 and 50 metres. In 1998, there have been applications for turbines of up to 100 metres high and it is therefore seen as essential that a formula is identified which will calculate the minimum safe distance, based on the actual height of the turbine."

The current proposal is for turbines even higher at 120m Meters.

"The Society is urging Government to revise its guidance so as to relate the safe minimum distance to the proposed height of the nearest turbine on the basis of a least three times the height - reflecting the guidance given in earlier times. In the meantime, the Society urges that all developers and planners recognise a 200 metre safety margin as being the absolute minimum for limiting the potential impact on equestrian interests."

Shadow Flicker

Moving shadows occur in nature all the time and are not generally a problem, however repetitive moving shadow such as experienced when driving down a tree lined road or from a moving wind turbine are considerably more disturbing. When such moving shadows fall on a window they can be very disturbing indeed as the light level in the whole room can appear to flash. This is called shadow flicker. National Planning Policy recognises this effect but asserts that it is only a problem if the window is close to the turbine (eg within 10 x the turbine diameter, 930m in this case). However there are reports of people being disturbed by shadow flicker at greater distances.

What's it like living with shadow flicker.

Lynn Harlock, who lives almost half a mile from Redtile wind farm in Cambridgeshire, said she was "sick to death" of flicker.

"You cannot sit in any rooms when the sun is setting at certain times of year," she said. "It is like flashing strobe lighting. It is quite upsetting not being able to sit in your own home. "People think you are barmy. They think you are after compensation. But all we want is our home back."

Impact on RAF Molesworth

RAF Molesworth has a history that dates back to 1917. In WW2 it was home to RAF Bomber Command 159 squadron Flying B-24 Liberators before being assigned to the United States Army Air Force.

In the 1980s during the cold war RAF Molesworth was chosen to become a base for the US Air Force's mobile nuclear armed Ground Launched Cruise Missiles. The decision to base nuclear missiles at RAF Molesworth made the base a focus of protest by Anti Nuclear protest groups.

The nuclear missiles were removed in 1987 but the infrastructure and bunkers are still intact and offer a unique reminder of the Cold War.

The future of RAF Molesworth is unclear but it has been suggested that the missile silos in the corner nearest the proposed wind farm might be worthy of preservation.

Impact on people

The proposed site layout places several turbines in an east west alignment such that a person using public footpaths may be exposed to shadow flicker from multiple turbines simultaneously. This may result in exposure to shadow flicker frequencies that are higher than normal.

This is contrary to advice from experts on photosensitive epilepsy who say "The layout of wind farms should ensure that shadows cast by one turbine upon another should not be readily visible to the general public"

18 November 2017
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Latest Planning Documents
Planning Reference: 1200967FUL






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    Disclaimer
    Please note that the content of this web site represents the views and opinions of the STOP MOLESWORTH WIND FARM committee and our members. Although we have tried to be as accurate as we can in relaying facts on the subject of this proposed development and the industrial wind industry in general, we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies found therein. If you believe any content to be incorrect or inaccurate please let us know.

    We would like to thank all the other wind farm opposition groups who have helped us with ideas.