Inducements have no part to play

Re: Shepham Wind Farm - Planning Application

I am writing on behalf of myself, my mother and my neighbour Mrs S Baird who share a common and strongly held negative view of this application.

Firstly, we object to what has become commonplace in controversial planning applications where the developer seeks to bribe the residents and their representative councillors by promising to finance and/or build infrastructure that purports to benefit the constituency or, in this particular case, to provide a Community Benefit Fund.

It is our collective view that these proposals should stand or fall strictly on the merits of the application and bribes and inducements have no part to play in such matters.

We would also point out that, in this particular case, the developer offers no information that details the percentage of their gross revenues that would be allocated to such a fund.

I specifically use the term “gross revenues” as it is the only measure that cannot be manipulated by the developer to suit its own ends i.e. what constitutes profit? With a certain degree of cynicism, this omission is almost certainly deliberate and will allow them to make an insignificant contribution should the scheme be given the go-ahead.

Secondly, in their September newsletter, GallifordTry, list a number of questions and the answers in some cases seem to be ambiguous at best.

For example, their question on Reliability asks: “Wind is intermittent and therefore don’t wind farms require back-up from polluting power stations?”

Their answer seems to suggest only a small amount of conventional additional capacity will be required to back up those periods when the wind is not blowing. This appears to be misleading at best. Germany has the largest installed capacity of wind power in the world and yet, certainly up until very recently, it was published that not a single conventional power station has been able to be decommissioned as a result of this massive investment in alternative energy.

I would hasten to add that this situation existed before Germany announced the closure of its nuclear power stations, which will only serve to exacerbate their longer term power shortages.

Another example of a less than thorough answer relates to the costs and subsidies question where they conveniently omit to publish the cost of power generated from natural gas power stations while including coal and nuclear.

Thirdly, it should be noted that the site being proposed for this development is a major winter/spring feeding ground for large numbers of swans which in some years number in the hundreds.

It can only be imagined the devastation the turbines could inflict on such large gatherings of these birds.

Fourthly, there is noise. While it is appreciated the site in question is largely rural and sparsely populated the effects of noise and its propagation has received significant coverage in the media in recent months.

Lastly, any claims made that this source of energy is cost effective and efficient needs to be subjected to the most thorough scrutiny while setting aside the apparent political will that allows these wind farms to proliferate when their real benefits remain unclear and uncertain at best.

In summary, the signatories of this letter feel the development does not make a clear and unequivocal case to support the turbines, that: - Given Germany’s experience it is unlikely to reduce the existing impact of conventional power. - Benefit to the local community remains un-quantified and subject to change. - Their installation will have a disastrous effect on wildlife. - Effects of noise and electromagnetic propagation on the local community remains controversial. We urge the Council in the strongest possible terms to reject this application.

Paul Bundy, Jane Bundy, Shirley Baird

The High Street, Westham