Decision day for revised wind farm proposals near Polegate

jpse-03-05-13-polegate-windfarm
jpse-03-05-13-polegate-windfarm

Plans to create East Sussex’s first wind farm in Polegate will go before planners this week- for a second time.

Amended proposals to build a three turbine wind farm have been recommended for approval by Wealden District Council (WDC) planning officers.

The final decision on Galliford Try Renewables’ (GTR) plans to create Shepham Wind Farm will be made by WDC Planning Committee members on May 8.

The energy generated at the site will go into the National Grid for use across the country.

The planning application is a revision of an earlier proposal for five turbines, which was withdrawn in July 2012.

GTR withdrew the original application in order to amend it following council officers’ recommendation that consent be refused.

The plans have been opposed by many of the area’s town and parish councils, except Hailsham.

A representative of Polegate Town Council said it remained opposed to the plans despite the application being recommended for approval.

She said: “The town council’s view is that the principles have not changed and even though the turbine numbers have been reduced from five to three and there is a slight reduction in the height, there are still concerns about health issues and the very close proximity to the new development on Dittons Road.

“Given that there is a proposal to build an offshore wind farm near Brighton of approximately 120 turbines, three turbines at Polegate are a small addition to the National Grid and are not considered justifiable given the impact on the natural beauty of the area.”

The wind farm is expected to generate more than 19,700MWh, the equivalent annual electricity needs of more 4,000 homes, said a GTR spokeswoman.

Tom Porter, Project Developer for GTR, said: “We listened carefully to the feedback we received regarding the original application, and have produced a scheme which now satisfies the Council’s officers, statutory consultees and planning policy.

“We are delighted that planning officers at Wealden District Council have recommended that the planning application for the wind farm be granted consent.

“We hope that councillors will be able to support their officers’ recommendation.”

The spokeswoman for the energy firm said: “The electricity generated by the wind farm will go into the National Grid for transmission across the country as required; some of which may go to local homes.”

Andrew Durling, spokesperson for Yes To Polegate Wind Farm group, said: “We feel that we, as local residents, by supporting the wind farm, are playing our part in the clean energy revolution that will help to keep the lights switched on and help to give our children a future for jobs in the emerging green economy, as well as helping to ensure a safe climate for them and their children.”

Visit www.sussexexpress.co.uk for answers to key questions on the plans from GTR.

How much of the generated energy will be put into the local electricity grid network?

GTR spokeswoman: “The electricity generated by the wind farm will go into the National Grid for transmission across the country as required; some of which may go to local homes.”

A number of concerns have been raised about the potential health risks, can you address concerns?

GTR spokeswoman: “We appreciate there are many ‘studies’ and claims on the Internet about wind farms and health, but - as highlighted in WDC’s Report on the application - Government studies and National Planning Policy do not accept there are specific health concerns with wind turbines and that there is no evidence they trigger epileptic seizures or are detrimental to health:

“Two main health issues have been raised relating to potential triggering of epilepsy and worsening of a pre-existing conditions relating to a brain haemorrhage.

“The national statements on health matters do not accept there are specific health concerns with wind turbines. The currently in force Companion Guide to PPS22 states that the frequency of wind turbine rotation is not sufficient to trigger epileptic seizures and there is no evidence that infrasound/vibrations are detrimental to health.” P.68 WDC Officer’s Report (full report attached)These include residents claiming they can hear a turbine up to a mile away in nearby Glyndebourne.

“As we understand, Lewis District Council has investigated these claims and concluded there is no issue with noise. Wealden Council has applied stringent conditions to the recommendation regarding the monitoring of noise levels once the wind farm is built. To protect residential amenity, these conditions specify maximum noise levels that the wind farm will have to comply with (see p9 of report)

The Glyndebourne turbine and is reported as only running at 18 per cent efficiency - what is the expected efficiency of your turbines?

GTR spokeswoman: “18 per cent relates to load/capacity factor, not efficiency. Depending on the turbines used, we would expect to the capacity factor to be up to 30 per cent.

“Developers often quote capacity factors as they are an indication of the economic efficiency of a particular site for a particular turbine.

“However, for third parties it is more useful to look at the actual amount of electricity produced. This site could produce over 19,700MWh of electricity per year. This is enough clean electricity to power over 4,000 homes.

Is there really a need when there is plans for a 120 turbine farm of the Brighton coast?

GTR spokeswoman: “Absolutely. Sussex has a renewable energy target of 68MW by 2016 - excluding offshore wind. So far Sussex has fulfilled less than 10 per cent of this target. The generating capacity of the wind farm would be 6-7.5MW (depending on the type of turbines chosen), which would make a significant contribution to Sussex’s target.”