Lincolnshire County Council, passed on the 6th June 2012 new planning restrictions, for the building of wind farms in the county. This is advisory as it is up to the seven local district authorities who have to make the final decision on planning application’s for wind farms in their area. The policy states that no wind farms are built 2km (1.2 miles) of where somebody lives.
This is a trend at the moment against the construction of wind farm in a number of places. And in the Scunthorpe area there a number of on-going disputes over wind farms, and their construction. With people saying they will ruin the landscape or view or lower house prices if built to near residential property.
All of this seems to be symptomatic of a shift in public attitudes to the production of green energy. Wind farms were seen a relatively quick way of getting green power flowing, and to most people in this area seemed to think it a good idea. But the arrival of the first wind farm in the area at Bagmoore Farm operated by Ridge Wind was a shock, the sheer size of a wind turbine and the height of the structure came as bit of a shock, and how visible they were over a large distance.
And with more in the planning pipeline people started to gather into protest groups in a number of places. Having realised that energy companies wanted to put wind farms in their local area, and that they most likely will dominate the local landscape. But in Lincolnshire/North Lincolnshire we have something the industry wants a good supply of wind, so they are attracted to this area on that basis.
There are long running arguments over the effectiveness of these turbines, the subsidy paid for the power produces. And the point of view over the whole global warming debate, I will not go into my views on the subject here. But has this pronouncement by Lincolnshire County Council got any consequences in the local area? Most likely yes, it more ammunition to the protesters given, but it is understood that this country has signed up to a reduction in carbon emissions and fossil fuels for energy production so there is a political element to all of this, the government has to reach a 20% target for green energy production by 2020, a task that is now proving hard to reach. So will there at some time be political pressure to get some wind farms up and working as the date comes ever closer.
And with the Humber Ports trying to grow the green energy sector, as people push against the planning application’s there is there some conscience on local jobs in this area as green employment fail to materialise, careers acutely needed in this area, also the steel from the local steel works to construct the turbines, so will there be a jobs conscience’s in this area if this work slows down.
So are there any other methods of generating green energy, one that seems to gaining popularity is solar power, a good number of roofs in Scunthorpe are having solar panels fitted to their roofs, is this one answer? Well there is an augment about the on-going costs of having the feed in tariffs paid. And the initial cost of an installation at about £5000 per house. But with a return of about £1000 per annum on the return of the power back to the grid, this has proved more popular than expected and now putting pressure on costs. But if a new system was devised so that instead of having a wind farm in your area the population gave up roof space for solar panels as an alternative to a wind farm with some agreement for power companies to pay out a cash sum to the local community in exchange to feed in tariff. Might this be one solution, worthy of consideration, and remove the wind farms from sensitive locations. As with time most people will not notice the panels on the roofs and if most people had them their houses would not look much different to the rest in the local area, so not threatening the local price of property.
This might not be a answer to all problems of green energy but we are going to have a long hard look at this problem over the next few years like it or not. Things will change remaining as we are it seems is not an option.
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