Molesworth Wind Farm Action Group
Say NO to the Molesworth Wind Farm - Bythorn, Molesworth, Keyston, Brington, Clopton, Old Weston, Titchmarsh, Catworth, Leighton Bromswold
IntroductionLandscapeA brief landscape historyVisual and other amenitiesEffect on local roadsDrainageFurther DevelopmentSubsidies for Wind Farm DevelopersOverstated BenefitsNoise & other health issuesWildlife & EcologyTV ReceptionHouse Prices / SaleabilityWhat happens next?
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Grounds for Objection - Other Objections

Turbine Mechanical Failure

Although this happens infrequently it does occur and detailed information can be found from the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum website.

Mechanical failure can result in the turbines catching on fire (not a pleasant thought when the fields they are located in are ready for harvest) which happened in August 2011 in Abeline, Texas. Turbine blades have been known to fail or shear due to parts failure, a spectacular example of this was the turbine failure at a wind farm near Conisholme in Lincolnshire in January 2009 due to faulty bolts. This resulted in one 72 ft blade becoming completely detached and another being mangled. Based on the close proximity of all the turbines on the Molesworth site to footpaths, bridleways and green lanes the possibility of injury to those using them is high.

Interestingly one manufacturer considers a distance of 1300 ft to be safe for its workers. The safety regulations for the Vestas V90, with a 300-ft rotor span and a total height of 410 feet, tell operators and technicians to stay 1,300 feet from an operating turbine - over 3 times its total height - unless absolutely necessary. This is not the distance these turbines will be situated from public higways, footpaths and local dwellings at the Molesworth wind farm and one wonders if public safety is not as important as that of the energy company workers.

The Vestas operating manual and look at page 8 number 2 Stay and Traffic by the Turbine, which states:

"Do not stay within a radius of 400m (1300ft) from the turbine unless it is necessary. If you have to inspect an operating turbine from the ground, do not stay under the rotor plane but observe the rotor from the front. Make sure that children do not stay by or play nearby the turbine. If necessary, fence the foundation. The access door to the turbine must be locked in order to prevent unauthorised persons from stopping or damaging the turbine due to mal-operation of the controller."

Ice Throw

Again this would happen infrequently but is still a risk. There was an incidence of ice throw in Whittlesey Peterborough in November 2008 causing shards and lumps of ice to fall on local businesses and residents gardens. Ice throw has been known to travel around 140 metres and again the siting of these turbines between footpaths, bridleways and green lanes would put local residents at risk as they are used on a regular basis by many inhabitants of the surrounding villages. Article from Peterborough Evening Telegraph.

Impact on Local Businesses

There are holiday cottages based in Titchmarsh and Nene Valley Cottages at Wigsthorpe, which has the only 5 star disabled holiday accommodation in Northants. These cottages would be blighted by the proposed wind farm resulting in loss of revenue and bookings.

See Rural North Oundle and Thrapston Plan (RNOTP) policy 12 on page 36 which states planning permission will not be granted for a development "which adversely affects open land of a particular significance to the form and character of a town or village. Current East Northants Policy (Page 2 policy EN20) concerning wind farms (policy 16 on page 41) is set out below -

Policy 16 - Wind Farms

Proposals for wind farms will only be acceptable where:

  • The turbines do not subdue other characteristic landscape elements;
  • There is no disruption to any existing relationship between villages and their landscape setting;
  • There is no major loss of landscape character, biodiversity or residential amenity;
  • There is no adverse impact on public rights of way adjacent to, or bisecting, the development site;
  • There is no significant impact on highway safety through driver distraction; and
  • There is no adverse impact on TV and telecommunications reception.

One can see from the policy above that the proposed wind turbines would contravene East Northants policy as they would impact severely on Titchmarsh, Clopton and Wigsthorpe.

Also "The Core Spatial Strategy identifies a niche role for East Northamptonshire as a focus for rural recreation and tourism by building on its existing strengths in this area. The East Northamptonshire Community Strategy 2005-2010 sets a priority to promote East Northamptonshire as a visitor destination and to encourage investment and the development of the local visitor industry." (RNOPT page 55 Economic Policies on Tourism section 7.18). This wind farm would contravene this policy and would have a severe effect on the successful established holiday cottage business at Nene Valley Cottages at Wigsthorpe and also the holiday cottage at Titchmarsh.

There will also be a severe impact on the local riding stables based in Molesworth and on the regularly used routes they take to exercise their horses which would be through the centre of the proposed wind farm. The British Horse Society Policy advises turbines should be located at "a distance of three times overall height from all other routes, including roads," which means the turbines should be at least 378 metres away from bridleways. With turbines situated just on the boundary of the 200 metres absolute minimum distance recommended by the British Horse Society from bridleways and green lanes this wind farm would pose considerable danger to novice riders and skittish horses.

Effect on TV and Radio Reception

There is a strong possibility TV, radio and mobile phone reception could be affected by the wind turbines however if the energy company is made aware of problems local residents experience they should provide replacement technology to rectify the situation. Assurances on this subject should be sought from the energy company. See information below

Wind turbines can interfere with telecommunications signals including TV and radio, mainly by the multi-path effect, where there is corruption or distortion of the received signal by the secondary signal. Uniquely with wind turbines this may 'chop' the signal causing variable 'ghosting' or 'jittering' on the TV picture.

The effects of wind power fall into two main categories: effects on broadcast television and effects on fixed radio links, mostly at microwave frequencies. Wind turbine effects on television reception are generally found where the TV is situated between a wind farm and the TV transmitter. Modern composite blades have less effect than older metal rotors but embedded lightning conductor strips may negate the advantage.

Reception solutions may require the use of a more sensitive aerial or aiming it at a different transmitter. More expensive remediation may need a re-broadcasting mast, satellite or cable supply to affected householders. Once analogue TV is replaced by digital it is possible that transmission will be less vulnerable to interference.

The SDC (2005) report includes a useful case study of the Blaen Bowi wind farm in Carmarthenshire where it is claimed the initial problems with TV reception have been solved.
Ref:
http://www.countryguardian.net/Case%20TV%20Radar%20etc.htm
http://www.countryguardian.net/The%20Case%20Against%20Wind%20%27Farms%27.pdf

Low Wind Speed Area

"To achieve favourable economics the turbines must be sited in areas of high average wind speed; wind farms are groups of large scale wind turbines located in exposed areas with high wind speed." Carbon Trust

According to the Energy Saving Trust website the wind speed for Bythorn is 4.7 metres per second and they state "Is your home is a windy area? To be effective you need an average windspeed of no less than 5m/s." This is data for small domestic wind turbines.

A wind map can be found at http://www.bwea.com/images/misc/noabl_c.gif which indicates our area is in a comparatively low wind speed area of between 5 to 6 metres per second at a height of 25 metres above ground at sea level.

The BWEA website has a useful map which shows many of the wind farms which have been submitted for planning permission In our area there are several at different stages but it would appear not all wind farms have been included as I could not locate Barnwell Manor on this website.

"Wind turbines should be positioned where the wind resource is strongest, so this year we are introducing a full review of the funding mechanism of the renewables obligation certificates to ensure that subsidies will not make it attractive to put wind farms in unsuitable locations." Quote from Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy on 10th May 2011 in a Westminster Hall Debate see: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?gid=2011-05-10b.366.1 We await the outcome of this review with interest.

"Wind turbines do not operate below the wind speed referred to as the cut-in speed (usually around 5 metres per second)" http://www.bwea.com/ref/noise.html

"There is just not any meaningful power at low speeds" http://www.power-talk.net/swept-area.html

"Delivering Renewable Energy in the Cambridge Sub-Region" June 2008. Page 37 shows a wind speed map of the county indicating that our area has a potential wind speed of 6.0 and 6.2 m/s average wind speed at 45 metres above ground level. The study states "The study area is relatively poor in wind resource (see Figure 3) with wind speeds at 45m above ground level of predominantly in the 6.0-6.4 m/s range, which is rather marginal for commercial size developments".

18 November 2017
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    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.