Wind Turbines updates – 29th July 2010

Ecotricity LogoThere is also an article in today’s Evening Advertiser regarding the protest group setup regarding Honda and Ecotricity’s Wind Turbines. The article is available from here. The meeting described in the article is described here.

Isobel Downey from Ecotricity has provided a short statement on the subject:

Proposed wind turbines at Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd (HUM)

29th July 2010

Throughout the development of the proposals since 2006, Ecotricity and Honda have been available to answer any questions and queries about the proposals, and all queries received to date have been answered personally as they were received.

We held two public exhibitions at South Marston Village Hall and Meadowcroft Community

Rooms were on 24 and 30 June, where the full plans were on display for local people to view, and over 100 people attended. A dedicated webpage with key information and a regularly updated blog is also available at Ecotricity’s website.

Now the application has been submitted, members of the public can also view the complete planning application document at Swindon Borough Council’s planning department, and also submit their views to the council.

We have recently been contacted querying if these turbines will set a new precedent for being located to 600m from the nearest house in South Marston. Ecotricity have been successfully operating wind turbines for nearly 15 years and so have many sites within 600m of residential properties, including:

• Michelin Tyre factory, Dundee -340m from residential properties (tip height 120m) operational since 2006

• Swaffham, Norfolk – 335m from residential properties (tip height 120m) operational since 2003

• Green Park, next to the M4, Reading – 400m from residential properties (tip height 120m) operational since 2005.

If you have any further queries after reviewing this information, please do contact us at Ecotricity via and we will do our best to answer your queries quickly.

24 thoughts on “Wind Turbines updates – 29th July 2010”

  1. I’m flabberghasted at Ecotricity’s arrogance and complete lack of concern for our village. I had no idea what was happening with Honda’s turbine plans, and most of the villagers had no idea either, until news of the very hastily arranged exhibition was received and we were all presented with a fait accompli,

    The only reason I knew what was going on was the very obvious, very large test mast which was clearly visible from the recreation field. This mast has now conveniently been taken down so we have nothing to judge the size of the turbines by, but I understand the mast was around 70 m high, if the turbines are 50 m higher than that you can imagine what we are going to have to put up with.

    Ecotricity should have held regular meetings with the residents, written to us, kept us informed so we had a chance to give or input, but they have failed miserably. How they have the nerve to flaunt their “good neighbourhood policy” is a total mystery, as they couldn’t care less about our neighbourhood. They and Honda have behaved in a very underhand, secretive manner.

  2. Hi Kay,

    Sorry you feel you haven’t been kept informed about our developments – the planning process means there can often be large gaps between stages when there’s little or nothing to report, but we do feel we’ve been doing our best to keep everyone locally informed of progress.

    As you mentioned, you saw the test mast when first went up in 2006 – as the name suggests this was a temporary mast to test the wind speed at the correct height to make absolutely sure that the location is as windy as the data suggested. You may well have also see the stories in the local paper about it then, or subsequently.

    We have also written to local residents, held two public exhibitions to present the full plans (when they were ready, as obviously these things can change), invited some to help us by taking part in background noise monitoring studies,and we try and keep our website blog up-to-date regularly about the latest developments, and have also invited people to contact us with any queries about the plans or about wind power in general.

    So I hope you’d agree there’s been a number of different ways we’ve tried to keep people as informed as possible. You can now also view the full application at Swindon Borough Council’s planning dept, with all the information in that the planners will use to make their decision.

    If you’ve never seen a modern wind turbine up close, I’d suggest you make a short visit to see our turbine at GreenPark at Reading (it’s the one right next to the M4). It’s the same height etc as the ones proposed at Honda. It’s the only way to really appreciate what they’re like. You can stand virtually underneath it (which of course you wouldn’t be able to do at Honda), and see and hear it up-close for yourself. I think you may be surprise just how little sound you can actually hear from it, and that they turn quite gracefully for most of the time.

    I hope this answers some of your concerns, we’d be interested to hear what you think after you’ve been to see the turbine at Reading. If after this, you have any other queries, please feel free to contact us at

    1. The only communication I have ever received from Ecotricity was a letter dated 17th June 2010 informing me of the public exhibition – note that the letter stated exhibition, not consultation. The Stratton exhibition was held in Meadowcroft, which is Upper Stratton. Why wasn’t Lower Stratton offered an exhibition. Upper and Lower Stratton are 2 separate areas, I know this as I grew up in Upper Stratton. Ecotricity should have held a meeting in the Kenwin Close community centre to accommodate the Lower Stratton residents.

      As for visiting the turbine in Reading, I have passed this many times. I recently pressed the mileage trip button in our car when we got near enough to see the turbine clearly towering above the office blocks, and we we found that we were over a mile away from the turbine.

      With regard to the noise of the turbine, it is well documented that the noise directly underneath the turbine is nothing compared to what it is from a few hundred metres away so I reject Ecotricity’s statement that they are not noisy – their statements on noise levels contradict this anyway.

  3. Putting the politics of whether we have been consulted adequately aside, perhaps we need to do some research on the impact of other Ecotricity masts sited within 600m of residential developments?

    I have a particular interest in the wind turbine at Swaffham in Norfolk (erected by Ecotricity) because it is close to where I spent my teenage years. Here is an interesting article on the Swaffham residents’ reactions to as second turbine, having lived with one for a number of years …

    This is just one article and it may be a skewed view but I think we could learn a lot by talking to the communities in Swaffhan, Reading and Dundee where Ecotricity wind turbines are located within 600 m of a residential area.

    And, what do our children say? After all, they are the ones who will be living with the consequences of the energy production choices we make today!

  4. Hi Carolyn,

    We’d welcome anyone speaking to people about how they feel about windmills already near them, to find out what they’re like to live with. Like most things, I’m sure you’d find a few people who don’t like them but I’d be confident most people do.

    Re. Swaffam, after we built the first one at the Ecotech Centre, we actually had the local council approach us and ask us to put up another one. And when they thought it wasn’t happening quickly enough, they actually complained to us!

    About 40,000 people have paid to climb up the Ecotech turbine to the viewing platform, and our windmills on the M4 at Reading, and those in Cornwall, Scotland etc are just as popular with visitors – not something you could say about, say, Didcot power station…

    The main issue is one of perception: most people still haven’t seen a modern wind turbine up-close, so understandably tend to form their opinion from what they read and hear, and certain national newspapers don’t help in this regard. Which is why we’d always say go and see one – you may be very surprised.

    Personally, I have stood directly under our lone 90m (to tip) turbine at Shooters Bottom in Somerset twice: once on a reasonably calm, sunny day and once in gale-force blustery winds in March. The first time I had to strain hard to hear anything and you could hear cawing birds more loudly; the second time I couldn’t hear almost anything as the wind was so strong anyway I was nearly being blown off my feet.

    And regarding our future, we are at an energy crossroads right now with the current generation of nuclear and coal plants on their last legs, but nothing coming along to replace them. Coal and gas are becoming increasingly scarse and expensive, and from places such as Russia, China, Libya and Quatar.

    We’ve never said wind energy is the only answer, but it is a free, abundant and everlasting resource that we can make the most of if we choose to. We all use electricity so it’s up to us all where we want it to come from in the future.

  5. Hi Darren,

    As I’ve alluded to before, you can find a whole host of article about wind turbines if you read some newspapers, or more so if you do a cursory search on the internet.

    For example, the story you link to regarding Dundee actually doesn’t refer to issues with the turbines there at all – it’s about a talk from someone called Jane Davis, who actually lives in Lincolnshire.

    You may find the names Jane Davis (as here) and Nina Pierrepoint (in the US) coming up alarmingly regularly. They are vociferousness anti-wind campaigners who just happen to have both had wind park applications near them.

    While I’m not fully aware of all the details behind their cases, I would advise you and everyone else to treat them with a degree of caution: for example Dr. Nina Pierrepoint is indeed a doctor. What’s not made so clear is that’s as a pediatrician rather than an expert in noise or anything else related.

    Re. Jane Davis, she is – as I understand it – the only person in the UK who complains of suffering from continued side-effects. But despite numerous attempts to identify her condition and the low-level noise she says she suffers from, experts have been unable to identify anything, even with sophisticated sound equipment.

    As before, the best thing you can do is to go an experience a working wind turbine for yourself, and make up your own mind.

    1. The article does mention Dundee:

      “A neighbour of the Michelin turbines in Dundee told the Farnell meeting of the unbearable noise that stopped him sleeping. Similar, written warnings of turbine noise have also been sent to Angus Council from people living close to turbines at Crystal Rig, Glens of Foudland and Ireleth.”

      It does you no credit to attempt to discredit doctors & people who have become ill.

      1. Hi Darren, to clarify:

        This is perhaps a case in point: this article is actually a letter from someone who is against wind energy, who attended a meeting of people against wind energy, at which someone against wind energy from elswhere spoke – it is their opinion, not fact. Their is no balance with those living near who aren’t bothered, or who even like them!

        From this piece, you would clearly take the impression that Jane Davis lives near to and is affected by the turbine at Dundee. This is not the case, which is why I urged a note of caution when taking articles in newspapers as fact.

        As I mentioned, Jane Davis is the only case (as far as I am aware) of a person in the UK reporting continuing and severe physical affects of living near to a wind turbine. There are currently around 3,000 working wind turbines in the UK alone.

        I was not attempting to discredit either a doctor or people who say they have become ill. I was only trying to illustrate that the comments and opinions of just two people have become very widely circulated in both newspapers and online in recent years, and have then been seized upon as irrefutable evidence of the negative effects of wind turbines, when a good deal of the 20 years’ of studies and practical experience with working wind turbines around the world suggests otherwise.

        I hope that helps explain what was previously meant. 🙂


        PS For FAQs about wind, you may like to visit: where they have a range of commonly asked questions with basic, advanced and technical answers. While this is clearly from an organisation in favour of wind power (formerly inc. charities WWF, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace), all their answers have been fully verified.

  6. I enjoyed the meeting last night, it was good to see the community out in force. If you guys need any help getting a website up and running, please do let me know.

    Kind regards,

  7. I would like to challenge the reason for installing the wind turbines on this site, are they to be used as an offset against the current Honda carbon footprint. The installation has no benefit at all locally, we would continue to endure the polution and have the undoubted detrimental effect of the turbines operating 24/7. The local council appear to be keen to grant planning permission, it could be for similar reasons. I understand that there are legal obligations for both to reduce thier carbon footprint. If they were in the business of power generation then this proposal might be a reasonable one, but they are not. Leave power generation to those whos business it is.

    1. Hi Michael,

      While I can’t speak for Honda directly here now, it may be helpful to raise a couple of points:

      – Honda, like any business, has to draw its electricity from the same places we all do. For every unit they use of clean, renewable energy, that means one less has to be made from other sources such as burning coal, gas or in a nuclear power plant.

      – The Honda site is “theirs” (whether leased or owned I don’t know), so I feel the fact they want to make use of that and make renewable energy is a really positive sign of them taking things into their own hands and taking genuine positive steps to be ‘greener’.

      There are indeed targets for councils to reduce the carbon emmissions in their areas, in line with national targets – which the UK is now woefully behind by about 50%. We at Ecotricity are in the business of power generation, and it is us who has developed these proposals on their behalf. We also now supply 40,000 customers across Britain with green energy.

      The ‘Big Six’ energy companies, meanwhile, are perhaps more content to continue in their traditional “day-job” of running big, polluting power stations like Didcot. This is a mindset we badly need to get out of, and quickly, if we’re not to see soaring bills and power shortages in the next decade.

      For more on this, you may like to read this (thankfully plain English!) article from last week’s New Scientist magazine entitled ‘All Power To The Wind – It Cuts Your Electricity Bills ‘ which talks about the very same issue:–it-cuts-your-electricity-bills.html

      I hope this is useful.

      1. Hi Mike,

        Thanks for your prompt responses to the concerns raised in this forum. I would be grateful for your further input as I’m arriving late to this debate, and I wonder if you would answer these simple multiple choice questions.

        Q1. How tall to the blade tip are the proposed turbines in relation to the tallest building in Swindon, the iconic 83m David Murray John (DMJ) Tower at the Brunel centre in the middle of town? Is it:
        A. Less than 50%
        B. 75%
        C. 100%
        D. 125% or
        E. About 150%

        Q2. Forgetting the blades for a moment, if the proposed turbine were directly next to the DMJ, which floor would I need to be on to best service the hub at the top of the mast? Is it:
        A. 5th
        B. 8th
        C. 10th
        D. 15th
        E. 20th(Top)

        Q3. In the proposal, the closest turbine from the village is 600m. In Scotland there is a minimum distance from residential properties within which large turbines cannot be built without consent. Is it:
        A. 600m (As per the proposal)
        B. 750m
        C. 1000m
        D. 1500m
        E. 2000m
        (NB I believe the limit was the subject of a 10 minute private members bill last year in the House of Commons but ran out of time.)

        Q4. What proportion of the village, including the school, is within the minimum distance from the turbine as proscribed by Scotland (and, I believe, also Germany and Denmark)? Is it:
        A. 10%
        B. 25%
        C. 50%
        D. 75%
        E. 100%

        Q5. What Proportion of the village will actually be within 1000m of the nearest proposed turbine? Is it:
        A. 10%
        B. 20%
        C. 30%
        D. 40%
        E. More than 50%

        Q6. If I were to ask the local estate agents their professional opinion on the likely impact on the saleability of my property of siting a 120m private industrial structure 600m away from my home would their answer be:
        A. Greatly Improved?
        B. Slightly Improved?
        C. Negligible effect?
        D. Slightly Reduced?
        E. Greatly Reduced?
        Remember, the question is what would the agent think in their professional opinion relating to the village and not necessarily what has happened elsewhere.

        Q7. If I were to ask the local estate agents their professional opinion on the likely impact on the Open Market Value of my property of siting a 120m private industrial structure 600m away from my home would their answer be:
        A. Greatly Improved?
        B. Slightly Improved?
        C. Negligible effect?
        D. Slightly Reduced?
        E. Greatly Reduced?
        Again, please remember that the question is what would the agent think in their professional opinion relating to the village, and not necessarily what has happened elsewhere.

        Q8. For our semi-rural location, with a normally prevailing Westerly wind, where would you have to site a turbine to maximise any potential wind noise nuisance:

        A. Does not matter as there is never ANY wind noise nuisance from ANY wind turbine.
        B. North of the Village
        C. South of the Village
        D. East of the Village
        E. West of the Village

        Q9. For any location, where would you have to site a turbine to maximise any strobe effect in the evening:

        A. Does not matter as the turbine will be switched off to minimise flicker effect.
        B. North of the Village
        C. South of the Village
        D. East of the Village
        E. West of the Village

        Q10. Where is the proposed nearest turbine relative to the nearest house in the village?

        A. Doesn’t matter as neither as I can guarantee that neither flicker nor noise will be an issue to anyone.
        B. North of the Village
        C. South of the Village
        D. East of the Village
        E. West of the Village

        Thanks in anticipation, as the answer to these queries will help me, and hopefully many of the village residents, to frame the debate around the proposal. Apologies for the long post.

      2. HI Kevin,

        Apologies for the delayed response.

        I won’t answer your multiple choice questions as posed here I’m afraid, as I’m sure even you’d agree you’ve framed them somewhat subjectively.

        :We’ve always said that the one thing we can’t change about a wind turbine is the fact that you can see it. The turbines proposed at Honda Swindon would be 79m to the hub at the top of the tower, and 120m to the tip of the blade when it’s at 12 o’ clock.

        To clarify, there is no regulation in Scotland regarding set distances from residential dwellings, only the same planning restrictions regarding noise levels as in England.

        Regarding distance, this is strictly governed by noise levels, which are always calculated as worst case scenarios (i.e. maximum wind speed at night and blowing in all directions). As you will know, as a result of our background noise monitoring we removed one turbine from our submitted application as its potential noise level at night was found to be unacceptable to Ecotricity and Honda.

        For comparison, some minimum distances across Europe are:

        – Belgium (Wallonia), the minimum distance is 350m
        – Belgium (Flanders) mast height + half rotor diameter
        – Bulgaria 500m;
        – Denmark: four times the height of the turbines
        – Finland states noise cannot exceed 40db at night;
        – France has no specific regulations, but generally builds within ‘Development Zones’
        – Germany 35-45dB, based on the type of region and the make/model of turbine
        – Netherlands: no set rules, depends on noise levels and shadow.
        – Spain: varies regionally, but the most stringent is 500m

        – Shadow flicker: as previously commented, this is not ‘shadow’, as everything makes a shadow. Shadow flicker is a condition that occurs under a combination of specific circumstances, and can easily be mitigated against. Any potential effect can be calculated and the turbine can simply be programmed to turn itself off automatically for the short time it occurs.

        House prices: please see the independent study carried out by RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors). While it doesn’t claim to draw any definitive conclusions, it is the one of the most comprehensive studies done to date. You can find it at:

  8. Two points:

    If South Marston has to endure more suffering from Honda why can’t these eyesores be the same size as the Watchfield ones – less invasive and obstrusive

    Why are Honda not placing the turbines along side the A419 (as per the one sited on the M4 at Reading) for simillar reasons as above

  9. I read with absolute astonishment that Stratton Parish Council support this. I love the fact that they state its OK for residents in Stratton as they live next to the A419 which is noisy anyway so they probably wont hear the noise of the wind turbines over this. I have lived in Stratton for many years and I really getting peeved off by the way the residents are treated. Its impossible to sleep some nights because of the A419 road noise. Some noise barriers were placed after 20 years of campaigning, however that was only for properties within 50 meters of the road, sod eveyone else. Oh I know what is a good ideal lets chop all the noise barrier trees down by the A419 near the Stratton cementry so that the road noise can be heard more clearly. Luckily I have spent the last ten years just saving up enough money to get the hell out of Stratton and this is the final straw for me, I’m off. See ya……

  10. WELL Mike! As I am ” Jane Davis (as here) who is apparently a vociferousness anti-wind campaigners who just happen to have both had wind park applications near them.(according to you), can I just briefly put our side of the story? I am NOT against wind power per se. I am against it in the wrong places, too near too homes, and with short seperation distances between turbines.
    I do complain, loudly and vociferously YES, because my home is for whatever reason in a hot spot as far as noise from the wind farm near us is concerned. I want more research done, with help from Developers perhaps to work out why 44 out of the currently operational 255 wind farms in the UK are casuing noise problems significant enough for some local people to make formal complaints to their local councils (and interestingly Dundee AND Swaffham are amongst that.
    The reason you hear about me is because we have had to abandon our home because of the noise within and around it that is so bad that we were only sleeping for 3 -4 hours a night.
    And – whoever told you that experst – even with sophisticated equipment couldnt find anything was lying. Sorry but there it is. We have Amplitude Modulation, some of teh best ever recorded in teh world the experts say..or perhaps they forgot to mention that to you?
    So what is needed is research and better – far better understanding of how turbines react with each other, what distances they need to be from each other, what proportions they should be, and maybe other things too…..

    So – please dont slag me off (which you did) without checking your facts!

    Jane davis

    1. Hi Jane,

      Apologies for the delayed reply, I have just noticed the later comments here. And apologies in advance for the long post below.

      First things first, my comments were not meant in any way to be personal or to question your own experience Jane. Clearly I can’t say what you are or aren’t experiencing, so my apologies if it in any way came across like that. There are also my own views based on my experience here at Ecotricity.

      My original point was – and continues to be – that a rational, informed debate about where our energy comes from is proving increasingly difficult to have in the current climate, where a small minority of anti-wind campaigners and the media make claims, which are then recycled (in the main via the internet) and go on to obtain the status of irrefutable fact.

      To put this in context and by way of an example, this recent article…

      …from a national newspaper states wind park operators are to be paid huge sums of money to keep them turned off. In fact, this was a one-off grid test by National Grid, for which it paid them £13,000.

      Within the same article, it also makes reference to an earlier piece that renewable energy is now “subsidised” by £1 billion pounds. What it doesn’t point out is that this is the equivalent of just £13 on the average household bill a year, or the current talk of a ‘low carbon tax’ on energy bills specifically designed to fund the new generation of nuclear. Europe’s newest nuclear reactor being built in Finland is currently 1.7 billion euros OVER its original budget, largely because of safety concerns. There is a similar story with a new reactor in France.

      But these articles have both been produced by local people at recent drop-in sessions we have held for local residents, quite rightly concerned about what they say, and undermining the opportunity for a rational debate.

      So being completely impartial, we should stop running all power stations because we have firm quantifiable evidence of the harm of nuclear radiation, pollution from coal or gas-fired power stations, ban mobile phones and masts because they have potential but as yet unproven health risks, and get rid of chemical cleaning products too.

      And yet do have them all today. We as humans have decided to accept/ ignore those because they keep our TV on, let us call and text our friends, or make our homes smell nice.

      And that’s where we find ourselves. Unfortunately as a society we’re currently also not prepared to sacrifice (or it seems make significant cutbacks) on the energy we consume or the increasing array of appliances that consume it.

      Please be clear- I am not for one moment suggesting that anyone should somehow have to put up with detrimental effects on their health etc. for the greater good. This is something we take extremely seriously, both when planning a wind park and throughout its life. What I simply mean is that we all use electricity, and that has to be made somehow and somewhere.

      And wind park owners are acutely sensitive to the concerns of local people. As you hopefully know, turbines are routinely programmed to automatically turn themselves off when high winds are blowing in a certain direction were it might cause a noise issue, or when there is a risk of shadow flicker. This doesn’t happen with a coal-fired power station if, say, people suffer respiratory problems in summer or even with other essential national infrastructure such as a dual carriageway – it doesn’t get closed if it’s too busy.

      Incidentally, the fragmented (and still relatively) fledgling wind energy industry does not have powerful lobbyists in the same way as, say, the nuclear industry. Single companies (German-owned companies E.ON and nPower, and EDF, Electricite de France, majority owned by the French state) stand to make massive sums of money by building and running any new nuclear power stations. That is what they are set up to do as commercial organisations.

      Unfortunately, it may mean that we may have to have sky-high bills and suffer black-outs or brown-outs (controlled, rolling power reduction/ cuts because of shortages) before people become aware of the issues that face us. This has already happened in California and Italy, so is not beyond the realms of possibility.

      I obviously can’t speak for other developers, but I see every day the care and effort that goes into the applications our planners put together here at Ecotricity, to balance the environmental benefit and the environmental impact.

      And while I don’t live permanently near a wind turbine, I have spent time at our various locations and have been amazed at how quiet and graceful they are. No smoke stacks, no barbed wire or perimeter fence, no hazard notices or flashing yellow beacons, just open ground, or fields with cows and sheep grazing away quite happily underneath. I would also be more than happy to have a wind park near me – in fact, I’d be proud and see it as a symbol of the fact that we’ve chosen not to do things the way they have been.

      We are at energy crossroads, and we all have to decide where our energy comes from in the future. But we do need to have the debate, and while I’m not suggesting they are a like-for-like replacement, I suspect that – given the choice – most of us would rather see a wind farm in their local area than a coal-fired or a nuclear power station. The likelihood is we are going to need a mix of everything.

      I hope that has helped frame the background a little – as ever, I would encourage people to pay a visit to a wind par themselves and make up their own minds.

  11. Many apologies for the typos in my post! I am slightly dyslexic and hadnt realised that there was no facility to spell check or edit.
    Under normal circumstances i would suggest anyone that is interested should come and visit us, as indeed some of the larger Developers have done, and been both surprised and appalled at the noise.
    But as we are in the middle of significant litigation at the moment its probably not best to do that..
    But how about going to see Lynn Harlock at Red Tile Farm in Warboys? (and its nearer) to look and listen?

  12. Thank you Mike, for at least responding, though I must have missed the apology for being rude about me?

    Sadly our experience, along with the majority of others is of having no knowledge that turbines can be “turned down” or “off” to minimise noise or flicker.

    At Lynn’s house for instance she gets flicker – from both sun and moon for up to 3 hours some days; there has been no attempt to turn the turbines off, and as she lives in an open plan bungalow she cannot escape from them.
    We suffer from noise of some sort from nearly all wind directions, and in fact recent studies have identified that for where we live, at least, there is not really a prevailing wind direction, rather wind directions that are more dominant than others…until this year when it has all changed again.
    If I only heard the noise that I can hear standing underneath a turbine you would never have heard of me. I would not be losing in excess of £1,000 a month simply so that we can sleep, and we would not be having this communication.
    Until the wind industry starts to address the very real problems of those who live near the 1 in 5 wind “parks” causing issues, then you (representing the industry) will come up against significant opposition, as frankly people don’t believe that if there are problems that there will be remedies.
    As to the RICS surveys try looking at:

    Where you will also see that we won a Valuation Tribunal Case that reduced our Council Tax Band. (which although useful as a precedent doesn’t exactly help much when we cant live at home anyway…)

    Incidentally I am not against wind “parks” per se but I really do wish that more research was done into understanding properly how they effect the environment around them, and how they interact on each other and on local residences.
    I do believe that wind has a part to play in the mix of energy production required, but it wont keep the lights on by itself, and it isnt well enough understood to be THE answer….


    1. Hi Jane,

      I think we may be agreeing in a funny sort of way on one thing here then, that more information and education on both sides is hugely important.

      I’m glad to hear that, despite your obvious personal experiences, you’re not totally against wind farms in principle. I hope that message comes across to people you meet.

      I’d concur that the wind industry can sometimes be pretty poor at communicating properly e.g. about that fact the wind turbines are clever enough to be turned off or down to closely manage them in different conditions. Irresponsible developers, as in any walk of life, give others a bad name and should be held to account.

      As I’ve said, I think we can always do better in informing people. But we are also faced with a tide of half-truths and myths, and it can be very hard to make your voice heard over that constant barrage – shouting into the wind, so to speak.

      I recently had a call from a distressed 72-year old man who went along to a recent meeting held by people who oppose one of our planned parks, and said he was effectively asked to leave and ejected after a couple of minutes, because he stood up and spoke positively about wind energy. That can’t be good.

      On a related note, the latest RICS report does show that there sometimes a dip in house prices at the time a project is proposed. I personally suspect this is as much – if not more – due to the clamour of local residents saying ‘it’ (whether that’s a wind park, housing development, incinerator or whatever) will blight their area and ruin their lives forever all over the local paper and signs on every other gatepost – I know that fear would put me off.

      I don’t think anyone has sensibly ever said wind energy it is the only answer, we have always relied on a mix of sources and that is going to need to continue. But the UK’s potential (40% of all Europe’s wind resources) is woefully under-used at present, and other countries in Europe have already shown it can comfortably deliver 15%-20% and beyond. The only question then is: why aren’t we?

      As I think we’ve both said, better information on all sides can only be a good thing.

      1. Mike Cheshire says “But we are also faced with a tide of half-truths and myths, and it can be very hard to make your voice heard over that constant barrage – shouting into the wind, so to speak”

        Are you saying that none of them come from you and you tell the truth all of the time and that everybody who objects is wrong? You say you shout into the wind, but you only have your point of view. Your little story about a man being ejected from a meeting was not from South Marston and did not happen here.

        Mike Cheshire says “The only question then is: why aren’t we?”

        Because you keep putting them in the wrong place! There are hundreds of unpopulated islands around the UK; is it because Turbine are cheaper to install inland.

        As a matter of interest, if you take into account the carbon footprint of digging the holes, extracting the cement and other building materials from the earth, manufacturing the turbines somewhere outside of the UK, delivering the raw materials, delivering the turbines , erecting the turbines, extracting the raw materials for the cables, manufacturing the cables, delivering the cables, installing the cables and any other ancillary carbon costs, do you make a carbon footprint saving? If so, when in the lifecycle of the project and is this guaranteed and subject to default payments?(perhaps repayment of subsidies)

        Also, can you tell the residents how much subsidy is being paid to make this cost effective and why is the subsidy not being given to assist with the provision of solar panels to be spread throughout the huge unused parts of the Honda site?

        The quote from the Ecotricity web site regarding solar energy is “The energy payback (the amount of time it takes to repay the energy used in creating and installing the solar panels – or Sunmills) is in the region of two years and they’ll produce clean electricity for up to 25 years – that’s a big net gain of clean energy.”

        Is this the same for the Wind Turbine Generators?

        I know you do not like giving straight answers, but it would be useful if you could do that this time instead of sidestepping some the questions that you call subjective, but others think are objective.

      2. Hi Terry,

        You misunderstand if you think that I am saying that everyone else is wrong – as I clearly stated, more information is needed on all sides and can only be a good thing. Unfortunately in our experience, most impressions of wind turbines are formed ‘third-hand’ – from newspapers, TV and the internet rather than their own personal experience.

        For instance, could you name a national newspaper that runs positive wind energy stories on a regular basis? I can name at least two that consistently run negative ones. That I what I mean by shouting into the wind, or if you prefer an uphill struggle to hold a measured, rational debate about where our energy comes from.

        In terms of facts, let me provide a couple relating to your queries:

        – The idea that a turbine will never pay for itself is a common myth. A wind turbine will typically pay back its ‘carbon debt’ – the amount of energy and materials use to make and construct it – in around the first 4-8 months. For the rest of its 25 year lifetime, it is ‘carbon positive’ – meaning that it is making energy from the wind and meaning we need correspondingly less from burning coal or gas.

        – Regarding subsidies, renewable energy in the UK is encouraged via the Renewables Obligation (RO), which is exactly that – an obligation on energy companies to build renewable sources (hydro, tidal, solar and wind) where they probably wouldn’t otherwise do it, because their traditional interests and profits lie in running giant coal, gas or nuclear power plants.

        As the % target has grown, the RO in 2009 cost £1bn, which equates to £13.50 on the average annual household bill. Personally I’d consider this a small price to pay for weaning ourselves off burning fossil fuels.

        As background, no new nuclear power station has been built around the world without government support since Three Mile Island in the US in 1974. The UK government has recently floated the idea of a ‘low carbon tax’ on all energy bills, specifically to help pay for our next generation of nuclear power stations.

        I hope you will consider these straight answers – if you have any other queries you can contact us anytime at

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