alk for Cheverton Down Appeal

 

My name is Lois Prior. I am an environmental auditor and an associate of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. For six years I was the auditor for the Green Island Project which was set up to create and promote environmental responsibility within the island’s tourism industry. I was a consultant for the project moving it’s development forward and for direct business support. I have been a visitor to the island since early childhood and moved here 18 years ago after falling in love with the way of life here, its history and landscape.

 

I would like to talk about what I feel are the impacts of having these turbines on the island, its tourism industry, its landscape and its community. I will also be talking about energy security in the UK.

 

With over 500 miles of footpaths and bridleways, I cannot imagine that there will be any significant impact, if any, on walkers using the island footpaths by having just one small section of pathway passing by just 3 turbines. Similarly, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival sees thousands of visitors and residents alike taking part. With a huge variety of walks to choose from located all over the island, will 3 turbines really put people off coming here?

The main event, the Walk the Wight Challenge, follows a route right across the spine of the island. Walk the Wight is a personal challenge for everyone taking part and a fundraising activity. I cannot imagine for one second that ANYONE would be so shallow as to refuse to take part on the grounds that they have to walk past three wind turbines, especially considering the fact that they already have to walk past the existing TV masts.

 

I think that guided walks to the base of the turbines would be a very popular walk in itself. This is reflected in the tourism questionnaire that we undertook on the island last year, where  76% of respondents stated that they would like to take part in a guided walk or tour of a working wind farm. Every year, Island Waste puts on guided tours of their waste processing plant. These tours are always popular and usually fully booked, and we are talking about a smelly waste plant here! Wind farms are used as tourist attractions elsewhere in the country. In Norfolk, the Scroby Sands Wind Farm visitors centre attracts 35,000 visitors a year. At Whitelee Wind Farm (Europes largest windfarm) near Glasgow, there were some 120,000 visitors to their visitor centre last year, more than four times their original estimates.

 

With reference to the issue surrounding visual influence of historic buildings, I would like to state that at least one of these historic houses closest to the proposed turbine site allows cars and other vehicles to park right in front of the property, yet these are not recognised by English Heritage or the protection officer at the Council that cars take anything away from the historic setting. Why are they worried about something that is being located 1.5 km away when modern cars are parked just meters away and in full view? Surely these have much more of a visual and audible intrusion onto the historic setting than 3 wind turbines located that far away.

 

The talk of how turbines will affect tourism has been discussed. I would like to ask if turbines in Cornwall has affected tourism there? There has been no evidence of this. I have also spoken to several proprietors of attractions and accommodation on the island over the years and what I get is a sense of despondency that the eco island that was promised has never actually come about. What they feel, and many others feel, is that we need to embrace the future, take responsibility for producing as much clean energy of our own as possible and have a very visual commitment to providing a sustainable future for our children and their children.

 

As the joke goes, ‘how many islanders does it take to change a lightbulb?

 

Change! What do you mean change?’


 

 

Energy Security

 

Energy security can be defined as the ability to obtain enough energy for own needs at a price that is affordable. This can be for a household, country or in a global capacity.

This depends on a resilient energy system, one that is capable of withstanding threats, with having a diversity in fuel supplies and using other sources of energy.

 

There are many threats to energy security, including:

 

 

·         Rising energy prices.

·         Threat of terrorism,

·         Instability in some exporting nations,

·         Fears of a scramble for supplies,

·         Geopolitical rivalries, (otherwise known as war)

·         Countries’ fundamental need for energy to power their economic growth.

·         Renewed anxiety over whether there will be sufficient resources to meet the world’s energy requirements in the decades ahead.

 

If we refer to the charts at the end:

 

 

Looking at the charts form the International Energy Agency. The first (A) shows energy production in the UK since 1972 to 2008. You can see there has been a fall in production since a peak in 2000. A fall in production is true for all the different forms of energy, except renewable.

 

The second (B) show UK nuclear power station production and this shows a decline since a peak in 1999.

 

Looking now at the flow charts from the report  ‘Digest of UK’s Energy Statistics 2010’ published by Department of Energy and Climate Change.

 

The next diagram (C) shows that the UK imports 68% of the coal that it uses. 71% of all coal use goes into electricity generation (power stations).

 

Chart (D) gas flow 2009 shows that 40% of the natural gas used in the UK is imported, of which 31%  is used for electricity generation (power stations).

 

The diagram of electricity flow chart (E) shows that in the UK, 39% of electricity generation comes from gas, 31% from coal  and  19% from nuclear. The diagram also shows that a total of 61% of electrical energy is lost through conversion, transmission and distribution. Taking into account the imported fuel sources previously mentioned, around 21% of our current UK electricity generation relies upon imports from abroad. This will continue to rise as our own fossil fuel sources gradually dry up.

 

The Energy Gap

 

The UK’s North Sea oil and gas production has been declining since its peak in 1999

In 2004 the country became a net importer of natural gas, and in 2006 it also became a net importer of oil

It is estimated that by 2020, 44% of the oil we consume in the UK will be imported.

To help overcome the UK’s reliance on imported oil, the government has set out a Low Carbon transition Plan which among other things is designed to find alternative transport fuels, including electricity. Without this, the importation of oil into the UK could rise to 47%, where Government departments states that ‘this will have a significant impact on the UK’s oil security’. Projections from the Department of Energy and Climate Change indicate that the UK’s net imports of oil are expected to increase over the next two decades, as indigenous production continues to decline.

 

 

 

UK’s nuclear and coal / gas power stations are getting to the end of their working life. The UK is  set to lose a quarter of its current generating capacity before the first new nuclear plant is built and it is not clear how that gap is going to be filled.

 

Energy industry report (2005) stated that without action, there will be a 20% shortfall in electrical generation capacity by 2015

 

The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Observer a couple of weeks ago that the UK had no option but to speed up efforts to move away from oil. “Getting off the oil hook is made all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East. We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources,”

 

February, 2010: A group of leading business people call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The second report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilise economic, political and social activity potentially by 2015. Peak Oil refers to the point where the highest practicable rate of global oil production has been achieved and from which future levels of production will either plateau, or begin to diminish. This means an end to the era of cheap oil.

According to the Summary paper ‘Closing the energy gap’ published by WWF and Greenpeace, the UK energy policy is at a crossroads. In the next 20 years around 30% of our conventional electricity generation capacity is scheduled to close. This will need to be replaced. At the same time the government is committed to delivering substantial CO2 emission reductions as part of the EU’s overarching climate change package and its own domestic policies. For example, the Climate Change Bill will require CO2 emissions reductions of at least 60% by 2050 and around 26% by 2020 (both from 1990 levels). However, the latest science is indicating that we will need to go much

further than this and make reductions of at least 80% by 2050 and around 40% by 2020. As the government’s 2007 Energy White Paper, the Stern Review and various other reports have shown, achieving these targets will require the rapid de-carbonisation of the electricity generation sector.

 

Fossil fuels and uranium are running out. Wind power will never run out! It is clean, it doesn’t need to be imported or processed, it doesn’t contribute to global warming.

 

I would like to show my full support for these turbines to be located on Cheverton Down. We cannot get  complacent about energy security in the UK. Relying on imports from unstable countries, ongoing unrest in the middle east and uncertainties of nuclear power production in the future after the recent catastrophic happenings in Japan are all factors in risks to energy security in the UK. The next 20 years are crucial as power stations are decommissioned and there will still years before new ones come on-line, and we are talking about nuclear power stations here. Nuclear power is not safe and it is certainly not clean. Just because we cannot see the pollution from a nuclear power station doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Cheverton Down already has planning permission for 3 turbines. By approving this appeal application, the new turbines will increase their power output by seven and a half times than that of the current approved application. We need to squeeze as much energy out of our low carbon power sources as we can. These turbines will be here for just 25 years, during which time new technological developments will take over and the land returned to its natural state.  During these 25 years, the UK will be facing ever increasing energy security risks. The world is changing, and we must change with it, or risk being left behind. So for the future of my children, and their children, I would ask you to take on board the issues that I have raised and approve this application.

 

 

If you would like the charts mentioned, please email me and i will send them to you.

  

Same goes for the references

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