Frequently asked questions & factual answers – for more detail please see our Issues section.
1. Will a wind farm affect the value of my house?
Yes. The Valuation Office Agency, which decides Council Tax valuations, has accepted that proximity to a wind farm does reduce house values and re-banded some properties accordingly. District Judge Michael Buckley said that the noise, visual intrusion and flicker reduced the value of a house in the Lake District by 20% (and the turbines there were only 40m high). As well as the potential for a reduction in house values, there’s also the issue of planning blight – for many people it has proved impossible to sell their home at any price, particularly with ongoing uncertainty during a planning process which takes several years.
2. Will a wind farm affect my health?
Possibly. Concerns have been raised that relate to low frequency vibration, noise, light pollution and shadow flicker. In some areas, residents have successfully sued developers and landowners because of sleep disruption and depression. In one case, a wind farm planning application was rejected because of the effect it would have on eight year old autistic twin boys living nearby.
The noise regulations (ETSU-R-97) that govern wind farms are outdated and widely discredited. Although developers of wind farms argue that noise is a minor issue, a recent paper in the prestigious British Medical Journal has concluded that the noise of wind turbines seems to affect health adversely and has called for an independent review of the evidence.
More info on health impacts in this recent article.
3. This isn’t on my doorstep – do I need to worry?
Yes. This decision could establish a dangerous precedent for further development in the Grantham and Newark region. If permission is granted for an industrial wind farm at Temple Hill, it will open the door for more applications in the area. There are many other wind turbine proposals in our immediate area – check out this map.
Even if you aren’t close to Temple Hill (remember that it will be visible for over 20 miles in some directions), you may be affected by the construction – temporary roads will need to be built to handle the outsize loads, there will be increased heavy traffic through our tranquil villages, noise and vibrations from pile-driving and so on.
NIMBY? Next It Might Be You!
4. Won’t Lincolnshire County Council’s wind turbine policy prevent this development?
No. Lincolnshire County Council policy on separation distances will not protect us, because the planning authority involved is South Kesteven District Council and they are not bound by the county’s policy.
5. Isn’t wind power essential to help tackle climate change?
Almost certainly not. Wind power by its very nature is intermittent, meaning that extra coal and gas-fired power stations are required to plug the gap in wind farm output. This is less efficient than if the traditional power stations were supplying a predictable demand, resulting in increased CO2 emissions. This inability to match generation with demand means that the National Grid will have to be expanded (more pylons) if more wind farms are built.
According to a definitive study on the costs and benefits of wind power (http://docs.wind-watch.org/hughes-windpower.pdf): “They require a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Markets have to be rigged in order to persuade investors to fund the investment that is required.”
The UK is chosen not for its wind but for its subsidies. Your money paid through energy bills and taxes will go in subsidies to one wealthy absentee landowner and a German energy company.
And after all that, the energy created at Temple Hill might power 817 kettles for a year.
6. The local community will benefit financially, won’t they?
Almost certainly not. Jobs could be lost if local businesses suffer because of the new wind eyesores on their doorsteps. Turbines are manufactured abroad and wind farms are operated remotely, so there will be no new jobs. There may be some small scale work for local companies during construction.
RWE offers a community benefit fund, paid for by all of us through the green levies on our fuel bills, and at Temple Hill this could equate to around a few pence per household per week – a very tiny fraction of the £30m RWE and the £5m the landowners might stand to make from the wind farm. Experience in other areas suggests that the communities most directly impacted by wind farms benefit least from these funds.