Calendar of Local Events

Say “No!” to RWE Innogy’s New Wind-Farm Application at Kirkby Moor

By

Dr Arthur Peter MBChB MPH MRCGP MFPHM

(local Lowick parish resident and member of S.T.A.R.C.)

 

I came to South Cumbria in 2000, to live and work here. My family set up home at the far end of the B5281 coming out from Ulverston. We could see Groffa Crag looming above us to the west on one side, Lowick Common stretching out on the other and Morecambe Bay changing magically by the hour, off in the distance behind Hoad Monument. We fell quickly in love with the windy, wild openness of Kirkby Moor and Lowick High Common to the west of us - even with the twelve old 42m wind turbines agitating and groaning up there!

And we still do enjoy living in South Lakeland - shopping and meeting up with friends in Ulverston; then driving over the fell via Beckside to Kirkby; or driving through beautiful Crake valley down the B5092 and along the A590 estuary edge to Newby Bridge; and then on to Grange-over-Sands or Kendal. We love the whole area - and we know many others do.

But RWE Innogy wants to change this now – and not for the better.

Its planning application to erect six enormous 115m turbines was submitted with SLDC in February, leaving local residents only weeks to read and digest its inedible contents; these include pages and pages of environmental impact assessments, data sets, maps, photomontages and planning details – all of which RWE has been polishing up with “consultancy firms” for several years now.

So I think it is time to object - and loudly.

Towards this end, I would like to share with you what I’ve found out about RWE and its planning application.

Firstly: Mr E B Williams, after holding a public enquiry at Ulverston’s Coronation Hall in 1991, recommended that the original wind farm application be refused. He had considered the proposed location on Kirkby Moor/ Lowick High Common “a particularly sensitive one, being part of an SSSI as well as being an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV)” and heard no evidence that this site was the only one in the area which could be used for wind energy production. But Mr Heseltine, for obvious political reasons then, directed that the application be approved by SLDC. So the wind farm was given the green light and up the turbines went, imposed supposedly for only 25 years before being decommissioned and taken down by RWE; Kirkby Moor was to be restored.

And so to the present - 2015. The top of the moor is still an SSSI. The locality remains an AGLV in South Cumbria – we all know that. And more importantly, we also know that present-day technology now permits the construction of massive, more efficient wind turbine arrays well away miles out at sea (as at Humberside and Walney) – with government approval.

But still RWE wants to destroy even more of our moor with concrete, aggregates and cabling; and erect turbines almost three times taller, with seven times the blade-sweep, to dominate our locality’s landscape.

I do not understand why SLDC could approve this application.

So I object and say to RWE: “No! Enough is enough. Just give back the moor.”

Secondly: The enormous modern 115m wind turbines proposed by RWE could harm many people living around Kirkby Moor, including residents at Broughton Beck, Grizebeck, Kirkby-in-Furness, Beckside, Netherhouses, and Gawthwaite - and even beyond.

The industrial waste product from all wind turbines is unwanted sound waves, both audible and inaudible. These waves (described as “high decibel levels”, “amplitude modulation”, “infrasound” and “whoosh”) are poured indiscriminately out over fields and into houses, day and night. The literature about human ill-effects (“wind turbine syndrome”) from this waste product has been growing very worryingly in recent years; increasing numbers of families are complaining of ill-health when living close to the proposed modern bigger and taller wind turbines.

In 2014 Dr Alun Evans, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at Belfast University, reviewed the extensive literature and concluded:

“There are serious adverse health effects associated with noise pollution generated by wind turbines. It is essential that separation distances between human habitation and wind turbines are increased. There is an international consensus emerging for a separation distance of 2km, indeed some countries are opting for 3km. The current guideline on separation distance is based on ETSU-R-97 and is manifestly out of date. It is only relevant to the small turbines of that era. The vastly increased scale of today’s turbines means that the current recommendation on turbine separation is grossly inadequate.”

And surprise, surprise. RWE’s operational noise assessment for its present application is based exactly on this same out-of-date ETSU-R-97 guideline. Its tables and tables of data preach a spurious pseudoscientific reassurance, allowing it to propose the siting of its enormous turbines nearer and nearer to our homes and families. Do a 3km sweep on RWE’s own map (Figure 12.1: Noise Assessment Locations) and you can see easily all the people potentially at risk from “wind turbine syndrome”.

And remember, these wind turbines can now be erected well away miles out at sea – with government approval.

I do not understand why SLDC could approve this application.

So I object and say to RWE: “No! Enough is enough. Keep the turbines away from our families.”

 

11th March 2015

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