WHY are we against it?

We are acutely aware of the need for renewable energy resources but are convinced that the potential environmental benefits of this scheme are far outweighed by the adverse environmental impacts on the local area. Would the building of this turbine really be in the public interest?  We think NOT.  Here are our main objections:

There are a significant number of family homes very, very close to the site – some less than 500m. These houses are all in the Blickling Conservation Area and a number are owned by the National Trust, whose flagship Blickling Hall is nearby. A number of councils in England already refuse to allow wind turbines within 1500m of housing. In Wales there is an exclusion zone of 1500m and in Scotland it’s 2km. The introduction of a similar exclusion zone is currently being debated in the House of Lords. The proximity to people’s houses is a major consideration not only due to the loss of visual amenity but also:

  • Noise - turbines are reported to emit a continual low hum which is carried on the air and depending on wind direction, can be heard more than a mile away.
  • Shadow flicker – this is the flickering effect caused when rotating turbine blades periodically cast shadows through openings such as the windows of neighbouring properties.  It can affect some people in the same way as strobe lighting.
  • TV, radio and mobile phone signal disruption - our reception is bad enough already…the turbine could potentially make it even worse!

Although Bernard Matthews have said that this site has been chosen very carefully to minimise the effects of these issues, in fact the site is in EXACTLY the wrong direction from the village of Oulton.  These effects are exaggerated by wind and sunlight.  The turbine site is directly South West of the village – the exact direction of the prevailing wind.  This direction also means that in late autumn and early spring some of the houses will be affected by flicker and they’ll have to turn the turbine off! 
This is the wrong site for the turbine.

There are no other structures even approaching this height in our area – not even electricity pylons - so the turbine would dominate views for miles around. This is inappropriate in this exceptional landscape which includes the Blickling and Heydon conservation areas and the following historic properties within a 5-mile radius: Blickling Hall (17th century), Mannington Hall (15th century), Wolterton Hall (18th century), Heydon Hall (16th century), Oulton Congregational Chapel (18th century) and Oulton parish church (12th century). Surveys show that the turbine would be visible from parts of Blickling Hall, Blickling church, Oulton church, Heydon Hall, Itteringham, Cawston, Corpusty, Saxthorpe, Silvergate – and most of the points in between!

We believe there would be a significant risk to rare wildlife in the area including protected bat colonies. Cawston and Marsham Heath, an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) just 3km from the site, is home to protected species including wood larks, nightjars, tree pipits, winchats and hen harriers.  Furthermore, Bernard Matthews clear-felled more than 300 mature trees without permission recently because of the risk to wildlife. The Forestry Commission has ruled that this was an illegal felling and ordered the company to replant the trees.  Oulton Parish Council requested an Environmental Impact Assessment on this proposal but Broadland District Council refused. We think this is wrong.

Some of you may be thinking this is just NIMBYISM and that the importance of alternative energy sources far outweighs any objections local people may have.  However although wind energy would seem a “free” source of energy, the reality is not so simple.   There is currently no effective way to store the power produced, so it needs to be used as it is generated.  Due to the unpredictability of wind speeds therefore every wind turbine supplying power to the national grid needs to be backed up by a fossil fuel power plant – thereby negating any carbon benefits the turbine might have achieved. 

The Oulton turbine is one of six planned by Bernard Matthews across the region – each one of which attracts a separate government subsidy.  Furthermore, the turbine is rated at 500kW which is the maximum power output allowed to attract an enhanced government subsidy for the electricity generated.  In fact for this size of turbine the power generated could be almost double and be far more efficient, but wouldn’t get as much cash from the government per unit of electricity generated!* 

The scheme has been heavily marketed as a green initiative and ‘community win-win’. But with serious question marks over the effectiveness of onshore wind turbines - at best the turbine would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of just 364 homes (although not continuously!) – and with extensive opposition from the local community, we disagree and are fighting the proposal. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a way for Bernard Matthews to make money to me, rather than a serious attempt to produce green energy. The rating of the turbine at only 500kW to attract a subsidy would seem to confirm this. I agree that off-shore turbines in large groups are the way to go - you surely get wind out at sea most of the time. Felling established woodland in pursuit of a "green" initiative is criminal in my opinion. Personally I would not be that offended by the look of it; but the noise and effects on other services should be taken seriosuly.