Category Archives: Wind turbines

Thorney community groups share wind-farm cash

Wrydecroft windfarm 1 LR

Two community groups in Thorney were among five voluntary bodies given cash in the first round of grant awards from Wryde Croft wind-farm.

A total of £18,000 was awarded to Thorney Children’s Community Choir, 47th Peterborough (Thorney Abbey) Scout Group, Guyhirn Church of England Primary School, Parson Drove Parish Council and Parson Drove Pre-School.

The grant to the choir was towards transportation, uniforms and music for the children’s community choir, while the scouts will use their grant towards a new minibus.

Guyhirn Primary School will buy classroom equipment, Parson Drove Parish Council is installing swings on the village green and the Pre-School will expand the themed lending bag resources offered to families to help children’s learning and development in the home.

The community fund from Wryde Croft wind-farm, which has 13 turbines, will be worth around £50,000 per year. Operators RES provides the money to Cambridgeshire Community Foundation which considers applications and awards grants twice a year.

The deadline for the autumn round was August 1, but applications are now being taken for grants to be made in spring 2017. You can get full information at www.cambscf.org.uk, go to the tab ‘Funds A-Z’ and click on the Wryde Croft link at the end of the list. To qualify, groups need to be based within 6 km of the wind-farm, measured from the nearest turbine. This includes all of Thorney.

The community fund was agreed when planning permission was granted for the wind-farm. Wind turbines being built at French Drove by green energy company REG will also pay into a community fund, but there are just two turbines on this site, so the fund will be much smaller.

Thorney misses wind-farm electricity discounts

Wrydecroft windfarm 1 LR

Of the 340 homes eligible for discounted electricity bills from the Wrydecroft wind-farm, none are in the main village of Thorney.

To qualify for the £200 a year discount, homes have to be within 3km of the nearest turbine. The nearest homes to the wind-farm (in Park Crescent) are just over 4km distant. The 3km radius reaches only as far as the junction of Wisbech Road and Old Knarr Fen Road.

Alison Jones of wind-farm operators RES, said because the lay-out of the turbines was in a long line, the area eligible for discounts was a long oval shape. It included Thorney Toll and parts of Gedney Hill.

Alison said more than 70 per cent of eligible homes had taken up the offer and all homes that fall within 3km had been written to.

“It is possible some letters have gone astray or there’s an error on the postcode. If people think they qualify and haven’t heard from us, they can call 0800 011 3341 to check.

Turbines on the Wrydecroft wind-farm began turning in January and testing has been ongoing. The turbines are expected to be connected to the national grid this month.

Work started on French Farm wind turbines

Work on two wind turbines at French Farm, to the north of Thorney, is under way.

The controversial development has been the subject of several planning appeals and a public inquiry.

The government rejected plans to extend the site from two to six turbines last year, but Peterborough City Council had previously agreed to two turbines and green energy company REG is now building these.

A spokesman said work would continue during spring and summer and they expected towers and blades to be delivered in August. The turbines should be generating power this autumn.

Apply for wind farm cash grants

Wrydecroft windfarm 1 LR

Applications are now being invited for the first round of community grants from the new Wryde Croft Wind Farm.

From 2016 the developer is making contributions of just over £50,000 per annum over the lifetime of the wind farm into the Wryde Croft Wind Farm Community Fund.  The fund is being administered by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.

Applications for funding are invited from not-for-profit constituted groups (not individuals) delivering charitable projects with public benefit for residents who live in the Area Of Benefit for the fund – a 6km radius around the farm.

Grants will be offered normally in the range of £250 to £5,000, although in exceptional circumstances higher sums may be considered.

Here are some examples of how the fund might be used

  • To purchase music stands for a band.
  • To refurbish a Children’s Park.
  • To purchase new mats for a Bowls Club.
  • To help build a cricket pavilion with changing facilities and disabled access.
  • To provide activities for young people and Youth clubs.
  • To provide a Christmas dinner for the elderly.
  • To help build a ‘sensory garden’ for pre-school children.
  • To help towards the purchase a minibus for a Community Transport scheme.
  • To purchase ‘smart boards’ for a school.
  • To support community activities and annual events.

The first round of grants will be considered at the panel meeting in mid March 2016, applications and supporting information must be submitted by 1 February 2016.

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation is a local grant-making charity and more information (including eligibility and documents you have to be able to provide such as safeguarding and equal opportunity policies) as well the application form can be found at:-

http://www.cambscf.org.uk/wryde-croft-wind-farm-community-fund.html

Wryde Croft wind farm was built during the summer and comprises 13 turbines situated north east of Thorney off New Cut.

Developers pull the plug on Gores Farm wind turbines

View The Causeway A47

Developers have pulled the plug on controversial plans to build wind turbines at Gores Farm to the west of the village.

Following government rejection of plans for addition turbines at French Farm to the north of Thorney, it seemed highly unlikely that a larger and more visible wind-farm would stand any chance of approval.

The developers, West Coast Energy, first submitted revised plans reducing the number of turbines to lessen the visible impact and, in particular, on the view of Thorney Abbey. It claimed no wind turbines would be able to be seen from The Green. However, West Coast Energy has clearly seen the writing on the wall and plans have been withdrawn. The wind-farm would have had the capacity to power up to 11,000 homes.

There are still plans on the table for five turbines at Willowhall.

News of the withdrawal will please Thorney Parish council which has urged planners to reject proposals for other wind farms near the village.

Following the rejection of the French Drove wind farm extension, the parish council issued this statement:

“Thorney Parish Council is very pleased that the immense efforts made by local opposition groups, parishioners, City Councillors and Stewart Jackson, have resulted in the Secretary of State refusing permission for the installation of 4x100metre high wind turbines at French Farm, French Drove.

“As they are opposed for many of the same reasons and with equal determination by the local community and their representatives, we trust that the wind farm applications at Gores Farm and the adjacent Willow Hall Farm sites will be similarly rejected, when the City Council determines the outcome of these two applications.”

 

£200 a year off electricity bills for 340 homes

Wind turbine

More than 340 homes in and around Thorney will get £200 a year off their electricity bills.

It is part of the community benefit paid by operators of wind turbines and will be available to people living or working within approximately 3km of the turbines at Wryde Croft Wind Farm – currently under construction to the north east of Thorney.

The Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS) has been developed by green electricity generator RES for communities hosting its wind farms.

The scheme is open to all residential, business and community buildings (including schools, places of worship and village halls) within the eligible area that are on mains electricity when the scheme is launched. The annual discount is paid once the wind farm is fully operational.

Alison Jones, Community Relations Manager for RES, said: “The scheme seeks to deliver direct and tangible benefits to people living and working closest to our wind farms in the form of a discount to their electricity bills.

“Feedback from communities near both existing and potential development sites has highlighted that people see cheaper electricity as a practical benefit of hosting a wind farm. We have introduced LEDS successfully at other sites around the UK and I’m delighted that people living and working near Wryde Croft Wind Farm will be among those to benefit from cheaper electricity as the result of hosting a wind farm.”

LEDS at Wryde Croft is being offered in addition to a Community Benefit Fund of at least £52,000 per year for investment in local community projects. Together the two initiatives provide a total package of £130,000 per year in community benefits at Wryde Croft Wind Farm.

RES will write to the 340 or so properties around the site that would be eligible to receive the electricity discount under LEDS, offering people the opportunity to register for the scheme. There is no need for participants to change electricity supplier to benefit and participation is entirely voluntary. The discount is paid directly to the relevant electricity supplier for the duration of the operational life of the wind farm.

“The discount, which is index linked, will be paid for the full operational life of the wind farm, which is 25 years, so that amounts to a direct benefit of at least £5,000 per property,” said Alison. “If someone moves out of an eligible property during that time, then the annual discount will become available to the new electricity bill payer for the property.”

Wryde Croft Wind Farm is scheduled for completion by early 2016 and, once operational, it will be capable of generating enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of more than 15,000 homes.

Now council should reject other wind farm proposals …

Wind turbine

Thorney Parish council has urged planners to reject proposals for other wind farms near the village.

Following yesterday’s news that the French Drove wind frarm extension had been blocked by the Secretary of State, the parish council issued this statement:

“Thorney Parish Council is very pleased that the immense efforts made by local opposition groups, parishioners, City Councillors and Stewart Jackson, have resulted in the Secretary of State refusing permission for the installation of 4x100metre high wind turbines at French Farm, French Drove.

“As they are opposed for many of the same reasons and with equal determination by the local community and their representatives, we trust that the wind farm applications at Gores Farm and the adjacent Willow Hall Farm sites will be similarly rejected, when the City Council determines the outcome of these two applications.”

MP says wind farm decision is victory for community

Stuart-Jackson

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson (pictured) issued this statement following news that the government had rejected plans for additional wind turbines at French Drove.

“I’m really pleased at the decision by HM Planning Inspectorate which vindicated all our efforts.

“It shows that if the community works together with a strong argument and marshals their case well, then a poor and inappropriate application can be defeated by the existing planning system.

“That said, had the Secretary of State not responded to my request to use his powers to Call In the plans, it might have been a very different story.

“I’m not against wind turbines full stop – but they have to be placed in appropriate locations and these were not.

“I’d like to thank all those on the campaign team – especially Don and Julie Turner.”

Stewart Jackson played a critical role in helping block the French Drove wind farm. Plans for four more turbines had been approved by Peterborough City Council when Mr Jackson intervened and persuaded Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the Conservative/Liberal government, to block the decision and send it to a planning inquiry.

By the time the inquiry had made its recommendations, a new government was in power and onshore wind turbines faced a tougher test to win approval.

Eric Pickles’ successor Greg Clark decided the French Drove plans did not meet that tougher test.

French Drove wind farm blocked by government

Land at French Farm, French Drove - site of a proposed six-turbine wind-farm.

Planning permission for an expanded wind farm at French Drove has been blocked by the government.

The rejection of the scheme by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government comes despite recommendations from Peterborough City Council and the Planning Inspector that the turbines should be built.

His decision now means it is highly likely that plans for other wind farms at Gores Farm and Willowhall will be dropped.

The principal reason for the rejection of the four turbines at French Drove was the visual impact, so it seems the Gores Farm/Willowhall wind farm, which would comprise 14 turbines, would have no chance of clearing the planning process.

Residents opposing the French Drove expansion were lucky that the planning process was interrupted by the general election and a change of policy regarding onshore wind generation.

The turbines were originally given planning permission by Peterborough City Council, but Peterborough MP, Stewart Jackson, asked for that decision to be called in by the government, which meant a full planning inquiry had to be held.

Despite the planning inspector John Braithwaite recommending approval, the change in government policy meant that minister Greg Clark was able to go against his inspector’s advice.

Energy company REG Windpower, does have planning permission for two turbines at French Farm, French Drove and has started work on those. Bases have been installed, but work stopped when they decided to apply for permission to build four more turbines. It is now unclear whether the company will continue with the two turbines which have permission, or abandon the project.

In rejecting planning permission Greg Clark made it clear that the principal reason was the visual impact on local properties. In his written report rejecting the application, he states: “The Secretary of State notes the significant adverse impact on some residents and concludes that the adverse impacts, in his planning judgment, result in unacceptable overbearing impact on nearby property and therefore amount to non-compliance with policy.”

The minister did agree that the development had negligible impact on Crowland Abbey, Thorney Abbey or the Crowland and Thorney conservation areas. He also rejected concerns about the impact of turbines on radar systems guiding planes into RAF Wittering airbase.

“Having weighed up all relevant considerations, the Secretary of State concludes that the factors which weigh in favour of the proposed development do not outweigh its shortcomings and the conflict identified with the development plan and national policy. He considers that there are no material considerations of sufficient weight which would justify granting planning permission.”

There is still the possibility that REG Windpower may apply to the High Court to challenge the validity of the Secretary of State’s decision. They have six weeks to make that challenge.

Turbine blades delivered to new wind farm

Turbine 2

A specially-designed lorry delivers one of 39 blades that were safely transported to RES’ Wryde Croft Wind Farm during July.

The 40m long blade was carried from the docks at Immingham to the wind farm site just east of Thorney.

RES is now beginning erection of the 13 turbines and is on schedule for the wind farm to be completed by the end of this year. Once the wind farm is fully operational, it will generate enough clean, green electricity each year to meet the average needs of around 15,000 UK homes.

Wryde Croft Wind Farm will also provide a community benefits package of £130,000 per year (indexed linked), which amounts to at least £3.25 million during the project’s lifetime.

Photo ©RES

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