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15 thoughts on “Share information

  1. Hi,
    I live at Throckenholt east of Thorney. We have Barn Owls on our farm and have the “Hawk and Owl Trust” come out to survey and ring the birds. They have told us that the land from us to Peterborough is the best for Barn Owls in the whole country. As they are a threatened species I don’t know if there is any mileage in investigating the impact this would have on them. Last time he came he showed me evidence he has gathered which shows how they are widespread across our area whereas in Northamptonshire there are just a few pairs along the river. Please feel free to contact me if you feel This information could help, I believe some of the tenant farmers have spoken to Paddy from the “Hawk and Owl Trust” so I guess there are known about owls on the land.
    Good Luck
    Elaine

  2. Hi, i was at the last Monday meeting and one of the things that came up was the councils belief that the land under threat is only grade 3 agrigcultural land. Would it be beneficial to have an analysis of the soil on each parcel of the land in question to establish its grading and to confirm that the land is not “tired” as the council have suggested? I checked the internet and discovered that this can be done at reasonable cost.
    Kind regards
    Helene Ames, Newborough.

    • Thanks for this idea although the simple fact is that the tenant farmers are paying rates for Grade 1 and 2 land. The “tired” comment is unfounded and it is for the council cabinet to prove this comment – which we are assured is unfounded.
      The land produces excellent yields and even with the terrible summer we have just experienced our hard working farmers have produced yields far above national averages again.
      This is another reason why it is so appalling that the council wish to evict these hard working families. Their yields are exceptional and this land has been cared for by their families for over a century in some cases. This plan will take some of the best farmland in the UK out of our breadbasket. Peterborough’s carbon footprint will explode as grain and crops will need to be imported from abroad to meet this shortfall.

  3. I live close to the Morris Fen site and we regularly see a barn owl going in and out of a barn next to our house, We also have bats flying around the back of our house during the summer. I do not know where they are roosting but I think it may be in our house or garage. To my knowledge no one has surveyed this area. How far away do we need to be as surely these animals will be affected by the solar farm. We also regularly see brown hares in many of the fields when we are walking in this area. As the crow flies we are less than a mile from the site.

  4. I was at the very informative meeting last night and I have just shared the site on face book and will continue to help in the fight against this . I will ask my friends who also live in rural areas to protest as in a few years it could be their area that is under threat.

  5. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/local-planning-and-onshore-wind
    Read this Statement from Eric Pickles about planning and local communities.
    He says the impact of turbines on predominantly flat landscapes can be as great or greater than as on hilly or mountainous ones.
    This is the first time the impact on our flat fen landscape has been recognised. There are other comments about consultation and listening to local communities concerns that are relevant for all planning items not just wind turbines.

  6. The UNECE has ruled that under the “UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters” the UK has failed in it’s obligations when putting up wind farms. Does this not apply to the solar panels too?

    Article 7 is where the UK has failed and the text is here:

    “PUBLIC PARTICIPATION CONCERNING PLANS, PROGRAMMES AND POLICIES
    RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT

    Each Party shall make appropriate practical and/or other provisions for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment, within a transparent and fair framework, having provided the necessary information to the public. Within this framework, article 6, paragraphs 3, 4 and 8, shall be applied. The public which may participate shall be identified by the relevant public authority, taking into account the objectives of this Convention. To the extent appropriate, each Party shall endeavour to provide opportunities for public participation in the preparation of policies relating to the environment.”

    More can be found at this blog (The Independent has an article with less detail) – http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84285 – Is this something that we can pursue as a further avenue to put pressure on the council?

  7. I was in Norfolk the other week and came across a solar farm in the middle of nowhere. It looks horrendous it had changed the land into a wasteland dessert. I took some photographs. I would be happy for you to use them to show a before and after. Or this is what Peterborough City Council wants to turn Newborough into. How can I get the photos to you?

    David

  8. I believe use of farmland for solar is desecration of the land and should be outlawed – there are plenty of industrial estate rooves to cover instead and that would be in locations where energy is actually used. Solar PV is horrendously inefficient anyway and electricity is lost in travelling through the grid.
    All renewable energy comes with a certificate of where it is produced and I have been talking this week with Ovo energy about whether they have a targeted procurement policy to deal with this, i.e. I would like to see them ensuring that renewable energy they buy on their customers behalf does not come from solar farms on farmland. They are now looking into this issue.
    Regarding the Eric Pickles guidance, when discussing a proposed 87 acre extension to an existing solar farm on farmland, the planning officer at ECDC told me that it depended whether it was a requirement that they had to follow, or a lesser instruction [that they can choose to ignore].
    Could we get up a national petition against use of farmland for this? ‘Allowable Solutions’ is likely to lead to yet more of this development.

  9. http://www.ecotechnologyshow.co.uk/talks/talks-cities
    Thursday 26th June 2014
    12.10-12.40 Case Study: Energy infrastructure as a service
    Seminar area 1
    Hear how one local authority is making money from investing in renewable energy infrastructure
    John Harrison, Finance Director, Peterborough City Council

    I’m intrigued… does the above relate to the Newborough proposal or are there some other aspects to Peterborough Council’s energy policy that don’t involve farmland being taken out of production, and should be shared/copied by other councils?

    Since I last wrote, I’ve become aware of DCLG strengthening guidance on avoiding use of BMV farmland for renewable energy and Natural England, who have responsibility to protect BMV, will now be pointing this out in response to statutory consultation, as well as NPPF 112.

  10. p.s. Best and Most Valuable Farmland is officially defined as grades 1, 2 and 3a.

  11. This is a useful site about soil: http://www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/
    It made me realise that there is a further issue concerning the use of agricultural land. Whereas farmers would be using tractors with flotation tyres, or not going on the land at certain times of the year, solar panel installers are more likely to treat it as a construction site and unless they are following good practice guidance to protect the soil from compaction, they may cause irreversible damage to the soil structure and quality for future agriculture. See the DEFRA guide written by the Soils Policy Team ‘Construction Code of Practice for the Sustainable Use of Soil on Construction Sites’. It can take an astonishing 500 years to form a 2cm thickness of topsoil and so as the guide says, it is in effect a non-renewable resource. There is currently no specific direct planning control on the sustainable use and management of soil resources on construction sites or a requirement for the monitoring of soil protection. I have alerted Natural England to this as it is an issue that needs addressing.

  12. Any news on the protest letter for Willow Hall wind farm, please? Time is marching on and we want to get as many letters in as possible. This is very disturbing for those of us who will have these turbines on our doorstep.

    Thanks

    Lisa Mills
    Willow Hall Lane

  13. Please use this letter to object to the turbines at Willow Hall

    Amanda McSherry
    Planning Dept
    Stewart House East Wing
    St Johns Street
    Peterborough
    PE1 5DD

    RE. Willow Hall Farm, Willow Hall Lane, Thorney, Peterborough.

    Application 14/01136/FUL

    Dear Miss McSherry

    I am writing to register the strongest possible objection to the proposed wind turbines at Willow Hall Thorney because it will significantly impact upon the landscape and the character of our unique Fenland. Furthermore the cumulative impact of wind turbines needs to be considered. With over 140 wind turbines being planned in this area there is a real and serious threat to destroying the historic landscape of the area and archaeology which predates the Bronze Age. Cambridge University have in the past recommended extensive archaeological work being carried out before any development of this sort can begin in these areas. Moreover, the applicant does not seem to have submitted photographic evidence demonstrating the impact of the development upon the historic landscape, this should be submitted as part of the application. Much of the estimated impact is based upon the applicants’ opinion.

    This area is well known for its wildlife. It is close to many Country Wildlife Sites and with numerous hedgerows and drains in the area there are significant threats to protected species such as birds, reptiles and insects. Whilst mitigation can take place the huge number of applications in the area will make relocation of these species a significant challenge to the applicant. Moreover with so many applications gaining approval the mitigation conditions are going to challenge the Planning Control Department to uphold. I have serious concerns that rare species and flora will be destroyed and that the bio-diversity will be destroyed. In particular the Red Kites that fly in this area. Wind turbines of 130 metres will invade their flying space and present a significant threat to their existence.

    The resonant noises associated with such developments can have a detrimental effect on wildlife and local residents. The potential disturbance to the local environment the light deprivation, flicker, noise and health hazards associated with wind turbines pose a significant risk upon local residents.

    The taking out of rich arable land when the city’s population is growing by thousands every year is morally unacceptable. The soil we have in the proposed areas is some of the best and most productive in the country. We need as much agricultural land as possible to produce the food we need. The reclassification of this land which will be needed to allow the scheme to go ahead will allow developers easier access to agricultural land and turn it into house building developments. THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN. I urge the planning committee to read the councils local plans which states:

    PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED WHERE DEVELOPMENT WOULD LEAD TO THE LOSS OF AGRICULTURAL LAND OF GRADES 1, 2 AND 3A EXCEPT WHERE THERE IS AND OVERRIDING NEED AND THERE IS NO OTHER SUITABLE SITE FOR THE SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENT

    The construction of these turbines will require heavy traffic which will damage local roads and disrupt residents quality of life. Willow Hall Lane is totally unsuitable for heavy traffic. It is narrow with 90 degree bends. It is impractical for turbine blades of the size required for the 130 metre turbines to be transported along this narrow country thoroughfare.

    The cumulative impact damage to the lane and verges already unsuitable for heavy vehicles would also make this road unsafe to other road users.

    Willow Hall a listed building and Thorney Abbey will be completely dwarfed by these turbines. The planning Department should also consider the impact these turbines have on the value of properties within the location. House prices are significantly diminished when a wind turbine is sited nearby. Even the treat of a wind turbine being built nearby will devalue a home significantly and in many cases make it impossible to sell and therefore worthless. No organisation / company should be allowed to render a family home worthless in the name of profit. E.G. When the wind turbine was proposed at Milking Nook a Lady trying to sell her home was informed by the estate agent that even the proposal could devalue her home by £50,000.

    A National News paper reported recently the concerns that wind farms are being given around 30 million a year in compensation to switch off or slow down their turbines because half the electricity they make is not needed as the national grid is unable to cope with the extra power produced in high winds or periods of low demand. It would be unethical for these turbines to be given planning permission if there is the slightest possibility they could be switched off in the future.

    IT IS TIME PEOPLE CAME BEFORE PROFIT.

    As the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, Minister for Communities and Local Government, States:

    “The need for renewable energy does not automatically override the environmental protections and planning concerns of local communities and that local topography should be a factor in assessing whether wind turbines have a damaging impact on the landscape.”

    There is no doubt they do.

    To conclude the impact of this proposal far outweighs the benefits and I urge the Planning Committee to Stop the destruction of the East of Peterborough by rejection this application.

    Name Signature Address

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