Get Orf Our Land! (or How My Village Blew Away a 140ft Turbine)
by James Delingpole: Hollywood
ago my family and I finally moved out of the Big City and into paradise
a pretty rented cottage on a 2,500-acre estate in Northamptonshire
with lakes, Capability Brown parkland, a 12th Century church, a
ruined Elizabethan haunted house, an 18th Century walled garden
and an ancient bluebell wood teeming with badgers, bats, deer and
But what we
didnt know was that there was a snake in the garden: a planning
application for an ugly 140ft wind turbine on the hill overlooking
our new idyll.
The first I
heard of it was when a woman called Sue accosted me at the Fawsley
village fayre. Were so glad youre here,
she said. Now you can help lead our fight against the wind
though this was, I had to explain that Im a troublemaker not
an organiser. Sure, I could help out with an angry article, but
if she wanted a leader shed have to look elsewhere. Run a
campaign? I can scarcely run a bath.
But from that
moment on our paradise felt lost. Every time I went for a walk I
couldnt help glancing up at that hill, wondering how it would
look when the wind turbine came. I thought of the sunrises it would
blight, the low-frequency noise, the birds and bats it would slice
and dice, and the hundreds of thousands of pounds going into the
landowners pocket while the neighbours had their landscape
ago, our worst fears came true. Sue emailed me to say the turbine
had been recommended for approval by the planning officer. With
only a week before the meeting when a decision would be made, we
had left it too late. Only 12 people had written to object and planning
approval was surely now a formality. If only wed put
up more resistance earlier, said Sue.
At this point
something in me snapped. There are things worth fighting for, and
for me this was one of them. Come what may, the dragon must be slain.
What you dont
realise until youve fought one of these wind applications
is just how grotesquely rigged the system is in favour of the developer.
Apply to your
councils planning department for a slightly bigger than normal
conservatory and theyll likely turn you down flat. On the
other hand, propose to erect a noisy, gleaming white industrial
wind turbine twice the height of the tallest oak tree . . .
its the developer (not the council) who gets to commission
all the expert environmental, architectural, acoustic and ecological
surveys assessing the proposed turbines impact. Is it any
surprise that these surveys generally tend to find in favour of
the person who has paid for them of course there wont
be any noise, the bats will do fine, and the turbine will meld perfectly
into the landscape.
under current planning law, the presumption is in favour of renewable
energy schemes. In other words, unless you can prove that the adverse
effects of a turbine will significantly and demonstrably
outweigh its supposed carbon-reduction benefits, then the application
is likely to be approved regardless of how strongly the local community
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© 2012 Daily