Small Woodland Owners' Group

Wind turbines in woodland

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Wind turbines in woodland

Postby DaveL » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:55 pm

Hello, I wonder if any of you know anything about wind turbines within woodland, know of good sources for information, or have any experience of related planning applications?

A woodland owner, who for the moment shall be nameless, adjacent to my small woods (bought from woodlands.co.uk with the usual covenant) has submitted a planning application to erect a single turbine, approx 37 m high with 50 m diameter blades. I was astounded, frankly. First, I can't believe a single turbine can be viable, nor can it be big enough to get above the shelter and turbulence caused by trees.

I've found a couple of relevant articles, the first from a quote elsewhere in this forum: http://www.power-technology.com/features/feature127084/ which is a pro-turbine blog, but makes this point:"Directly above the tops of the trees a 15m-40m wide layer will bring no energy yield, as the trees act as obstacles to the wind. "This zone is characterised by considerable turbulence and low wind speeds, and is therefore unsuitable for profitable exploitation of wind energy," wrote Peter Herbert Meier in a report for Renewable Energy World in June 2011.
Above this zone, at around 30m-60m of height, the trees loose their influence on the wind, turbulences decrease and wind speeds rise. Modern state-of-the-art turbines, equipped with hubs more than 100m high, reach into these 'low-turbulence and high-wind' areas, where the winds can reach speeds of 5.8m - 6.7m a second
."

Secondly, a research presentation http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FR_Aviemore_Update_2010_wind_turbines.pdf/$FILE/FR_Aviemore_Update_2010_wind_turbines.pdf, which amongst other things talks about the area that would have to be cleared around turbines.

BTW:
- It's in Scotland, so Scottish Planning laws
- strictly speaking, it's an agent / developer who has made the application, the owner's name doesn't appear on the application, but fully aware of it and supportive.

Thanks for any useful advice, precedents etc

Dave
DaveL
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:18 am

Re: Wind turbines in woodland

Postby Wendelspanswick » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:05 pm

I have been up close to a wind turbine and the concrete foundations are enormous, plus the erection of the tower and laying of the power cables mean that the installer would have to clear fell a large area.
A tower height of 37m and a blade length of 25m means the the tips would only be 12m or 40ft from the ground.
How far away is the grid?
Wendelspanswick
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:03 am
Location: Somerset

Re: Wind turbines in woodland

Postby oldclaypaws » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:11 pm

In general I'm a fan of alternative energy and wind power, IN THE RIGHT LOCATION. Offshore sites and in 'desolate' minimally populated areas such as remote moorland are the norm, but to stick one next to an established woodland sounds plain daft. As you say, its not going to function particularly well, and is going to be a source of aggravation to those in the locality. If you want ammunition to fight it, I'd suggest a species survey is a good starting point. Get a Magenta 4 Bat detector to confirm you've got bats on the edge of the wood (almost guaranteed), and get a local bat group to identify them. They're protected. They will be endangered by the turbine. Its likely you can also 'find' sightings of protected birds such as raptors, swifts, woodpeckers- all of this will provide reasons to reject it. They are also I believe quite noisy in close proximity, they are after all machines- if you prove it will mean a loss of amenity to you in terms of peace and quiet in your wood, its another valid objection.

Can you describe the rough location and nature of the surrounding area? It does sound like a strange place to put one, unless you're 2000 ft up a welsh hillside. (?)

I now know where you are, and its hardly the middle of nowhere or 'mountainous wilderness', there are plenty of surrounding little farms and settlements. As the big whole wood is ancient, there'll be bats, buzzards and all, so there's a strong wildlife grounds for objection, as well as the 'inappropriate location' argument.
oldclaypaws
 
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:13 pm

Re: Wind turbines in woodland

Postby DaveL » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:10 pm

Thanks for responses. Yes, objections have gone in, also from many neighbours.

Oldclaypaws, if you've worked out where the woods are, you might even have worked out who the owner behind the application is - there's a whole other discussion there, but that's for later!

Yes, my objection and others included points about incompleteness of their survey - done in January, not quite right time for bat surveys!! or red squirrels!

The proposed access road would be about 500 meters long, requiring removal of mature trees and over some steep terrain. My understanding is the connection to grid would be underground along the access road, and would have to continue underground beyond, probably along the (narrow) public highway.

I don't think the application has a chance of being successful, but I do wonder if it's a kind of stalking horse, trying to establish a bridgehead (sorry for mixed metaphors) for a subsequent application for bigger and multiple turbines.
DaveL
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:18 am

Re: Wind turbines in woodland

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:45 pm

Just another consideration, I'd guess it would be visible from a certain very important historic site to the North of you, if so it could be said to detract from the view from a historic site of national importance. Now I object ! The battle in question was won by an ancestor of mine, one 'RTB'.
oldclaypaws
 
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:13 pm

Re: Wind turbines in woodland

Postby DaveL » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:24 pm

oldclaypaws wrote:... an ancestor of mine, one 'RTB'.
- I like that!
somebody else already mentioned that in their objection, also the sight-line from the nearby castle.
DaveL
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:18 am

Re: Wind turbines in woodland

Postby DaveL » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:50 pm

A belated footnote: it took a long time, but after about 6 months, the application was rejected, not on environmental grounds, but on visibility from aforementioned ancient monument, and because of possible archeological remains from yet another ancient battle site.
DaveL
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:18 am

Re: Wind turbines in woodland

Postby Wendelspanswick » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:16 pm

That's a relief for you, glad you updated the thread.
Wendelspanswick
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:03 am
Location: Somerset


Return to All things legal

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests