Friday, 6 December 2013

Clyro Wind Turbine

Clyro local council have objected to the development of a wind turbine at Cold Blow (which is about the most apt name you could have for the site of a wind turbine) after a meeting where something like 170 residents were against the project and only about five (being the family who own the farm) being in favour. Apparently someone in the audience had done their homework, and demolished the case for the turbine.
Maybe they would have liked it better if it looked like this:

This is the windmill at Lytham St Anne's, near Blackpool, taken from the blog John Burke's A-Musings. When I was a kid, my family used to take the Yelloway coach from Bury to Blackpool, and spotting this windmill on the outskirts of Blackpool was almost as exciting as being the first one to spot Blackpool Tower!
So I've always rather liked windmills.

A leaflet was put out advertising the public meeting in Clyro, and also mentioning the opposition website at
The main - in fact the only - argument against the turbine made in the leaflet was basically that it would spoil the view. It will be 84 metres tall(about the same height as Big Ben). They warn that the presence of this turbine will encourage others to apply to build turbines, and this will have a bad effect on tourism in this unspoilt area.
Now, I get my electricity and gas from a company called Good Energy, which provides 100% renewable energy. This includes wind farms in Cornwall, solar panels dotted all over the place, and biogas. Recently a survey was done of tourists in Cornwall. They were asked if the presence of wind farms had made any difference to their decision to come and holiday in Cornwall, and having seen the turbines, would they come back and holiday there again? Overwhelmingly, the tourists said that the turbines had made no difference at all to their holiday plans, and would make no difference to their plans to holiday in Cornwall in the future. The press release talking about this can be found at (again, sorry for the long url):

So I don't really see that a walker who wants to walk the Offa's Dyke Path, for instance, will be put off because he might possibly see a wind turbine in the distance.
The last time I came back from Hereford on the bus, I noticed a wind turbine above the village of Dorstone. In fact, I had to look quite hard to see the wind turbine, as it was almost invisible against a grey sky. In the B&R this week, on the front page, there's a story that claims that the Clyro wind turbine would overshadow Rhosgoch and Painscastle as well as Clyro. All I can say is that the Dorstone turbine does not overshadow Dorstone.
Far more obtrusive in the landscape are the Madley radio telescope dishes. They must have been a huge shock to local people when they were first built, but now they are an accepted part of the landscape, and I've never heard anyone complain about them, or suggest that they have harmed local tourism.
And we don't even notice the vast army of electricity pylons striding across the landscape everywhere in the country any more.
A lady in Rhosgoch is worried about the impact on her small airfield - the dangers of hitting the turbine, and turbulence. I'm not sure how far away from the turbine her farm is, but as far as hitting the turbine goes, in Rugby the huge radio masts on one side of the town used to have small red lights up them at night, and no aircraft ever hit them (I believe that they became obsolete and were taken down, and some people in Rugby were rather sorry about that, because they liked to see them on the skyline).
I can't say anything about turbulence, because I don't know enough about it - but it seems unlikely to me that it could have such a large effect over a wide area.
The piece in the B&R also mentions noise pollution. I understand that wind turbines do make a sort of humming noise. I've never been close to one, but my sister and her husband visited a wind farm in Germany on their holidays - the Germans are far more enthusiastic about renewable energy than the British - and they said that they couldn't see what all the fuss was about. They could still hear the birds singing even when they were standing right under the turbines.

New sorts of wind turbine, which are more efficient than the present model, are being developed. Maybe the people of Clyro would prefer something like this?

Because at the moment, their electricity probably comes from somewhere that looks more like this:

(This is - or was - Stuart Street Power Station in Manchester, where my grandad used to work).


Anonymous said...

Wind turbines are inefficient and a blight on our countryside and our local waters surrounding Britain. A drive north through the middle of Wales on the A470 and you will see several of the hideous things spoiling the landscape and most of them hardly ever turning. This is NOT the way forward in renewable energy and the Government is wasting billions of pounds going this route. Perhaps they should look into tidal energy which is far more efficient and less damaging to our beautiful countryside. Strange how you never see wind turbines in the centres of cities, isn't it. I wonder why.

Eigon said...

Actually, you do see wind turbines in the middle of cities. When I go to visit my Young Man, south of the river in London, I can see three wind turbines from his windows, and on the way to the nearest shopping centre we pass a field full of solar panels.

AnnieB said...

Bravo, Eigon and thank you for your sane and well reasoned arguments.

Noel Kingsbury said...

Well done for standing up for wind turbines! The luddites and ostriches who object to them have to get their electricity from somewhere, so long as the coal mine/nuclear power station/turbine is not within sight of their own property and on someone else's! Turbines are clean, low C02, silent and in some ways quite an addition to our landscape.

Owen said...

Your opinions on wind turbines are common for people who won't ever be forced to leave near to them. I agree that from a long way away they appear beautiful and serene but I'm afraid that it is a different story the closer you get. When the wind is behind a turbine, people who live in line of sight will be forced to endure a repetitive swooshing sound anything up to 2 miles away. Add to this the fact that those of us who live in the hills have little or no background noise (especially at night) and you may start to understand another of the reasons why so many of the local community in Clyro have voiced their opposition to this industrial turbine. Your opinion of turbine noise would be better informed if, like me you had formerly lived within a mile of one. The sound pollution completely ruined mine and my family's lives. The Clyro turbine is not just a personal wind turbine providing clean energy for a farmer and his family. This is an industrial installation which, if given the go-ahead will usher in more of the same within the communities of Clyro, Rosgoch and Painscastle. I can assure you that 'visiting a wind farm on your holidays' is not a good way to gauge the impact that turbine noise may have on your home. Also, you may not be aware of this but over half the onshore wind turbines in Germany are owned by local communities. I have always suspected that this may be part of the reason why they appear to be more enthusiastic about installing them.

Eigon said...

I mentioned my sister because she had actually been to stand underneath a turbine. And I would still far prefer a wind turbine to a fracking drill, or a conventional power station, or a nuclear power station. As Noel Kingsbury says, we have to get our energy from somewhere.
I think that the German model of local communities owning wind turbines is an excellent idea - I do know that the inhabitants of Swaffham in Norfolk are fond of their local turbines.

Ed Davies said...

Take away public subsidy and those who want them can pay for them. That leaves the rest of us only to pay for the back-up stations that have to be kept going for them. They are bloody noisy, ugly and inefficient. Have a look here under wind:

Eigon said...

So lets take away the public subsidy on fracking, too, shall we? And the other fossil fuels. This government has been starving the renewable energy industry of money in favour of oil and gas.