June 25, 2014:
100 people attended the Town Council's Heane Farm Wind Turbine Public Meeting last night in the Community Centre. Mayor Andy Gilbert introduced speakers from WDBC, developers MiGrid, and CPRE. The latter restated the scale of the full frontal turbine assault Devon is currently experiencing - see HERE - and had an energy expert on hand to clarify issues around turbine development. These included mention of the 'Lavendar Test', which deals with the impact of wind turbines on people's lives, the first time we have heard of that!
When the floor was opened to questions a passionate, generally polite and informative discussion took place, with lively and often penetrating questions being fielded by the speakers. Close to 100% of the attendees voiced their opposition. Surprisingly, Mi-Grid were let off lightly, although some of their technical answers came under fire and should result in challenges that Planning Case Officer Jeremy Guise will need to investigate. Notable amongst these were visual impact/noice/health/bat issues. (Did you know that a 2012 medical paper shows that 15% of people living near a wind turbine are likely to suffer ill effects from ultrasound?)
It's clear that there is huge pressure from the EU via the UK Government to accept planning proposals like this, reinforced by massive subsidies that make the commercial argument a no-brainer for anyone keen to try their luck. And with the law of averages applying and time running out, it's no wonder Devon is currently suffering from 315 similar proposals (39 in West Devon alone).
David Cameron's stating that the 2020 targets are already met prompted many calls to stop this scheme. However, Cameron's statement is not 'policy,' said Guise. "Legimitate applications for lawful activities must be properly considered." And he said several times that he and his teams are governed by policy frameworks and strict guidelines in making their recommendations to Councillors for an eventual decision. He also emphasised that he must receive written 'challenges' on the points raised during the meeting in order to have them formally investigated by experts where necessary.
So, if you have legitimate cause for concern, make your views known. You can object (or support) the proposal HERE.
Apologies were received from MP Mel Stride who wrote that he is "firmly opposed". We later had the pleasure of meeting Colin Stewart, prospective UKIP candidate for next year's parliamentary elections. Based in Exeter, Stewart spoke out against the proposal and told us that he will be following the turbine issue closely. There were also representatives from many surrounding parishes, many of whom are fighting their own campaigns.
PERSONAL COMMENT: With meetings like this being repeated around the county, the same arguments arising time and again, and the same reactions from local Action Groups, surely it's time for a coordinated campaign of resistance aimed at changing that 'policy'?