Search This Site

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Objections to the Proposal

Any proposed development should be examined on its merits. We need to reduce CO2 emissions, but we need to do so on a relatively crowded island where the construction of large energy-generating facilities has to fit in with other environmental and human factors.Sellindge Residents Association does not oppose wind energy. We broadly support wind energy's role in developing more sustainable sources of energy and in reducing CO2 emissions.
Off-shore vs On-shore
Where wind farms are sited off-shore great numbers of larger turbines can be built to take advantage of strong and consistent winds.
However, where wind farms are sited on-shore they generate relatively small amounts of power and can have a major negative impact on people and the surrounding countryside. The benefits have to be weighed against the negative impact.
Harringe Brooks Wind Farm
We object to the proposed wind turbines at Harringe Brooks on the following grounds. We consider that these negative factors far outweigh the modest reduction in CO2 emissions and the relatively small amount (see section on over-stated benefits below) of electricity produced:
  • They would dominate and adversely affect the landscape character of the area - particularly its open rural character.
  • They would adversely affect the historic landscape setting by introducing massive, intrusive, industrial forms out of scale and out of keeping with historic buildings, field patterns and views.
  • The construction / commissioning phase would last approx. 12 months and would involve deliveries of huge quantities of ready-mixed concrete for the foundations - potentially 25-30 truck deliveries a day - as well as larger vehicles delivering turbine sections.
  • The proposed development would "open up" the surrounding area to further wind farm development - to the detriment of its landscape and historic rural character.
  • The underlying motive for building them is primarily to enable Ecotricity to take advantage of the exceptional levels of subsidy currently available to wind farm developers.
  • In view of the profits to be made on the back of the currently available subsidies, we believe that the environmental advantages of the proposed wind farm may be overstated.
  • They would create noise by day and night, thereby reducing the peaceful character of the area to the detriment of local residents - with possible adverse health implications
  • There are potential health and safety risks for turbines collapsing
  • They will have adversely effects on birdlife, bats and may also affect radio and mobile phones.
  • There are potential problems due to sunlight flickering on the rotating blades.
  • They would have no significant economic benefit to the local economy.
  • They will adversely affect the amenity value and hence prices and saleability of local houses.

Visual Impact - landscape
Inappropriately sited, wind farms at these locations, will be  totally out of character with the area within which they are proposed. These tall industrial structures in a otherwise rural landscape  will be intrusive and detract from the natural beauty of this part of East Kent. At 125 metres high, they will be far taller than ANY structures within the area. They will be almost the height of Canary Wharf and 6 times higher than Sellindge church.
The size, scale and extent of the turbines would:
- dominate and adversely affect the landscape character of the area - particularly its rural character
- represent the industrialisation of a predominantly rural area
- adversely affect the historic pattern of the landscape by introducing intrusive and standardised industrial forms and by its dominating impact upon the setting of historic buildings and views from public rights of way
- be completely out of scale with the surrounding landscape
- adversely affect the whole landscape over a very wide area because of the high, open and visible nature of the site. The turbines would be visible for many miles
The turbines would completely dominate the landscape with out-of-scale industrial features alien to and out of keeping with it.
This drastic change would detract from the visual amenity of the landscape and affect the enjoyment of the area by all countryside users - including residents, walkers, cyclists, riders and visitors.
Landscape is part of the general amenity of life in small villages. Destruction of the essential qualities of the landscape reduces the quality of life of local people.
Local residents have either lived here since birth or have moved to the area through choice. A large factor in the attraction of the area for them is the visible landscape with the characteristics outlined above.
The proposed development threatens to undermine all of these people's enjoyment of the wonderful panoramic views and open vistas which are currently a feature of the local landscape.
Noise, Health & Safety
Wind Turbines are not silent as developers often claim. Experience has shown that residents living up to a mile away can be seriously affected by noise, especially at night, causing sleep deprivation. The nearest houses will be less than 600m away.
The issue of noise produced by wind turbines is controversial. There are widely conflicting views, an apparent shortage of scientific research and planning regulations which are based on outdated data.
It seems that no one can be certain exactly what the noise implications would be until the site is operational. By then it would be too late to do anything about it.
Wind turbines produce three types of sound - (a) mechanical noise from the gearbox and generators, (b) aerodynamic noise from the movement of the blades through the air and (c) low frequency infrasound. Research has shown that low frequency sound can cause serious health problems for people sensitive to its effects. People living near wind turbines have been reported to experience health problems including sleep difficulties, headaches, irritability and stress.
The following factors are worth noting:
1. Obviously, the closer to a turbine you live the greater the chance of noise being an issue. The nearest house to one of the proposed turbines would be around 600m.
2. Noise would vary depending on the force and direction of the wind. 
3. Different people have different sensitivities to noise.
4. Turbines can have an effect on one another. Sound waves from one turbine can affect and be affected by sound waves from others. There is potential for small "ripples" of sound from different turbines to build up into much larger "waves" of sound. This effect can become marked at certain distances from turbine clusters.
5. The wind can blow hard at any time of day or night. In the middle of the night when background noise is low the turbines could often be at their noisiest.
6. There has little research into the noise impacts of larger (125/130m) turbines. The people with the money to undertake such research are the Government and the wind farm developers - one suspects that they have nothing to gain and everything to lose from such research.
The statutory methodology (ETSU-R-97) used by planning authorities to assess wind farm noise was developed back in 1996 using data from turbines only 40m to 60m high.
Professor Ffowcs-Williams, Emeritus Professor of Engineering, Cambridge University, one of the UK’s leading acoustical experts has said:
"The regulations (ETSU-R-97) are dated and in other ways inadequate. It is known that modern, very tall turbines, do cause problems, and many think that the current guidelines fail adequately to protect the public."
Thus the fact that any proposed wind farm appears to comply with ETSU-R-97 in an Environmental Impact Assessment gives no guarantee that there will be no noise problems for people living in the area once the wind farm is built.
Reports from the UK Noise Association and others (see links below) suggest that the harmful effects on the health of people living near to wind turbines are insufficiently assessed and that minimum separation of wind turbines from dwellings needs to be increased (recommendations range from 1.5km to 1.5 miles), particularly for the large, modern turbines, until comprehensive scientific research can fully evaluate their impact.
As Mike Barnard observes (see link below):
"There have been many examples in the past when warning signs of future problems with new technologies have been overlooked or ignored (e.g. asbestos/tobacco). It took time before a pattern of health complaints were observed. As turbines increase both in size and proximity to houses reports of health effects appear to have started to escalate. In years to come the noise issue from large modern turbines may be seen to have fallen into the same category."
Finally, the experience of the Davis family from Deeping St Nicholas, who live 930m from an eight turbine wind farm, makes worrying reading. As soon as this wind farm became operational in 2007 they started experiencing noise problems which reached such a state that they have had to find an alternative "sleeping house" 5 miles away in order to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Yet the wind farm met the Government guidelines. See: "Statement from Jane Davis of Deeping St. Nicholas" - National Wind Watch online documents - April 2007.
Shadow Flicker
This occurs when the sun is low in sky and the rotating blades are in between the sun and the observer. This causes a monotonous strobing effect throughout the facing rooms in homes up to a mile away from the turbines.
For examples of both of these see the following video clip of what can happen if Turbines are sited too closely to housing in an inappropriate location and without due consideration for the residents of the area: Wind Turbine ShadowFlickerand Noise, Byron Wisconsin - YouTube
Environmental Impact
Whilst wind farms are put forward as being an Environmentally positive development, this does not cover the whole Environmental impact- only a small part of it. Wind turbines aren't as green as you think!
As well as the visual impact there are significant concerns with regard to the ecology and the effect on the wildlife in the area. Particular concerns about bats and bird life have been raised.
Birds & Bats
Birds and bats are particularly vulnerable to wind turbines. Although the blades rotate at only 15 to 30 rpm the blade tips, travelling at around 200mph, can kill both birds and bats.
There is ample evidence of barn owls flying, and probably nesting, in close proximity to Harringe Brooks. Buzzards have also moved into the area and a large number of more common species are also active.
The existence of any bird migratory routes in proximity to the proposed site must be clearly defined to ensure that migrants will not be put at risk.
Even if not killed, it is possible for birds and bats to change their behaviour and avoid dangerous areas - with possible implications for bird migration patterns.
Adverse effects of this sort can only really be measured over time by monitoring population figures. Developers might point to a lack of direct evidence of individual fatalities but it is worth bearing in mind (a) that the local fox population is unlikely to leave the evidence lying on the ground for long and (b) the only people with legal access to the area beneath the turbines would be Ecotricity and the landowner.
Domesticated animals (including livestock, pets and horses) may be affected by noise - particularly ultra low frequency transmissions from the turbines. Concerns have been expressed that this could be detrimental to successful livestock breeding.
Any loss of wildlife will detract from the amenity of people enjoying the countryside.
Effect on Local Roads
The construction / commissioning phase could last approx. 12 months.
Based on figures seen in relation to other wind farm developments, it appears that around 25 to 30 truck deliveries of concrete per day could be expected.
In addition, sections of turbine up to 40m long would be delivered on special large low-loaders.
All of the approach roads are small and rural and the condition of the road surfaces is seldom particularly good - often necessitating piecemeal edging repairs.
It is likely that the additional traffic and its heavy nature would cause both congestion at the site access and damage to the road surfaces necessitating more extensive and disruptive repairs.
Further Development
Perhaps most worrying is that there are plenty of examples where the grant of planning approval for a wind farm "opens up" the area for further wind farm development.
If 600m from the nearest village is seen as acceptable then one can imagine many "suitable" sites along the high ground overlooking the Romney Marsh in both Ashford and Shepway districts - with the devastation to the landscape which that would entail.
Subsidies for Wind Farm Developers
At present, there are huge subsidies available (via the Renewables Obligation (RO) system) to energy companies who build wind farms. However, increasing energy prices and changes in the energy sector have rendered them unnecessary - although energy companies still receive them and taxpayers still pay for them.
Based on recent industry figures quoted in the press, each turbine at Harringe Brooks would generate power worth around £200,000 on the wholesale market, plus a further £300,000 of subsidy from taxpayers. With a turbine cost of around £2m the net profit over the proposed initial 25 year life of the wind farm would be around £3.36m a year.[source - report by the Environment Editor of The Sunday Times, 27/1/2008 - click for article]
In January 2007, Ofgem, in its response to Government consultation on the subsidy system stated:
"We fully support the Government's aims of reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable generation but we think there are cheaper and simpler ways of meeting these aims than the RO scheme which is forecast to cost business and domestic customers over £30bn."
Ofgem goes on to state that:
"Other organisations, such as the National Audit Office, Carbon Trust,
academics and the European Commission have all raised similar concerns."
"The subsidy generates returns for investors that are greatly in excess of the economic cost of generation it helps to finance ... At an average price of £45/MWh (close to the current wholesale price) all of the existing deployed technologies are economic without the need for any further support suggesting that nearly all of the RO subsidy is excess."
[NB. Ofgem is responsible for administering the RO system on behalf of the Government but does not set the rules. Responsibility for the policy itself lies with the Dept for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR)]
Overstated Benefits
Whilst there are clearly benefits for the environment in terms of reduced reliance on fossil fuels, the extent of these may not be as much as is claimed.
Wind turbines can only produce electricity when the wind is between around 10 and 56 mph. Electricity demand varies considerably at different times of day and year. There is no way to store electricity; demand must be met by immediate supply. Since there is no way to control the wind and determine how much electricity a turbine will produce at a given time, other, traditional energy sources are still needed in order to ensure supply. Thus, the building of wind farms does not mean that other power stations can be decommissioned.
The construction of a wind farm is not in itself "carbon neutral". The manufacture of huge metal turbines, their delivery on specialised lorries, the delivery of huge quantities of concrete for their bases and their actual assembly clearly expend large amounts of energy - most of it fossil fuels.
The extent to which overall CO2 emissions are reduced is not clear cut and, in the past, claims made by Npower have been found by the Advertising Standards Authority to have breached their rules on "truthfulness", "substantiation" and "environmental claims" - (see 2007 decision on ASA website).
For a discussion and interviews on the question of whether the benefits of wind farms are being overstated, listen again to BBC Radio 4's "Costing the Earth":
"... experts interviewed on Costing the Earth claim the power of the wind to deliver electricity is being overestimated by companies keen to cash in on big subsidies." - (30th August 2007 -
House Prices / Saleability
The loss of amenity in an area will have an adverse effect on property values.
A court has recently ruled that living near a wind farm decreases house prices and it awarded a householder a discount on her council tax because her £170,000 home had been rendered worthless by a turbine 1,000 yards away. (For more details see the Telegraph report 26 July 2008)
In a 2004 court case where a seller had failed to disclose to the buyer that a wind farm was about to be built nearby, the judge ruled that the value of the property reduced by 20% by the presence of the wind farm.
Much depends on proximity and visibility. Clearly the prices of nearby houses in sight of the turbines would be affected.
The wider effect is likely to be linked to the extent to which the presence of the turbines changes the character of the landscape. In the case of Harringe Brooks the negative effect on the landscape would be profound.
Would you prefer to buy a rural house in a village with six of the biggest wind turbines in Britain looming over it or one in a rural village without the turbines?

How to Object

It’s important to write any objections in your own words, but you must also adhere to valid planning objections.  Objections can be registered either online following the link on this website to the Shepway planning website or letters can be written to the planning officer at Shepway.

The more objections registered the better our case will be!

Here are some valid grounds for opposing the Ecotricity application at Harringe Brooks:

·          Adverse visual impact – these turbines are almost the same height as the main tower at Canary Wharf. They are on a massive industrial scale which is completely inappropriate in the surrounding landscape. Their vast size means they will dominate the skyline for miles around and look out of context.  The open and rural character of the landscape here will be destroyed.

·          Noise - you may be concerned about the low-frequency noise created by the turbines (about which little is known of the long-term health effects). The noise may impact your well being by not being able to relax in the garden or disturbed sleep at night.
(The visual impact and noise should be considered together as both will impact simultaneously and the combined effect will be overwhelming)

·         Cumulative effect – there are applications for six turbines by Ecotricity, and a further one only a few hundred meters away by Mr Price. The effect of this mass of machines will devastate the area and will cause a massive nuisance to the local residents – of which number nearly 3000 throughout the surrounding villages. Once the area is blighted, it is much more likely that further significant planning applications for other developments will be agreed. The cumulative effect of these would be devastating to the local community.

·         Residential amenity – in Europe and in Scotland turbines are not allowed to be sited within a minimum distance of 2km from homes. The whole of the villages of Sellindge, Lympne, Court at Street and parts of Aldington will be within this zone with some properties less than 500m away. Are our lives less valuable?

·         Public amenity – you may be concerned that there are a number of designated quiet lanes around the site and the turbines could present a danger to passersby with “blade throw” and other items thrown from the blades and “shadow flicker” affecting us in our houses as well as residents, motorists, walkers and horses.
·         Wildlife – your concerns may be for the migratory and resident birds that make this area their home and the potential destruction of their natural habitat. Bats are also highly at risk due to the low pressure caused by the blades as they sweep past.
·         European landscape convention – this recognises landscape as legally constituting an essential component of people’s lives. It is therefore your right to oppose if you feel that the turbines will affect your enjoyment of your surroundings. 

Monday, 6 September 2010

Our Villages - The Future - Your Views

Sellindge and District Residents Association Survey

In the Recent Updates' section, near the top of the column on the right, you will find a link to the 'Sellindge and District Residents Association Survey'.

Just click on the link to view and/or print the 2 page survey. Unfortunately, you cannot update the survey directly so once you have finished viewing please just click on the back arrow at the top left of your screen to return to here.

Many of you will have received a copy of the survey through your letterbox and returned it already. If it more convenient, you are welcome to return the survey to Dave Motley. 10 Swan Lane, Sellindge, TN25 6EP. However, if it is not easy to return the survey by hand, please instead send an email to:

simply providing the answers to all the questions in the following way, for example:

Q1 - Westenhanger
Q2 - No
Q3 - a) Yes, b) Don't know, c) No, d) No

etc. up to and including Question 11 and optionally your name/address


complete a paper copy of the survey by pen, scan and attach it to an email to the email address above.

Thank you for your time.

Kent On Sunday - Letter week ending 5 September 2010

Here is a reader's letter from Page 30 of this week's Kent on Sunday. Once you have read please look at the 'post' below and make sure you have given your views to the above survey.


Villages grab land

Shepway council is drawing up its local development framework for planning. This document includes the building of up to 1,000 houses in Sellindge, 400 in Lympne and 400 in Westenhanger.

This will effectively urbanise the whole area and overwhelm the communities and character of the villages.

Shepway is now consulting on this with regards to what developments should be imposed upon us. Current Government policy is "to reward local councils for building more homes. .. by allowing them to keep more of the proceeds of council tax and business ratesfrom new development". I imagine Shepway council will be falling over backwards to grant planning permission to any large developments proposed in an effort to fill the councils coffers.

Planning for development should be primarily concerned with meeting the needs of communities and infrastructure, not with meeting the financial interests of developers and the finances of the planning authority.

Shepway had the ability to effectively write itself a large blank cheque at the expense of rural communities. The planning applications are already rolling in at Westenhanger and Lympne.

Planners and developers seem to be eyeing up the green fields surrounding our villages like a hungry man eyeing up a cake. What is it to be Shepway? Profits or people?

Penny Knight, Sellindge.


The articles contained in this website are for general informational purposes only and have been provided by various sources including the public, newspaper content and local bodies. These articles are then presented by Sellindge & District Residents Association on this website, and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of Sellindge & District Residents Association. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, Sellindge & District Residents Association takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control. This website may include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. The Sellindge & District Residents Association has no business relationship with any organisations mentioned in this website.