In view of the nationwide concerns about the effects of large-scale wind turbines on rural communities, Appleton Wiske, as part of the process of developing a Neighbourhood Plan asked parishioners whether they would be in favour of a wind farm development in the vicinity of Appleton Wiske. 95% of respondents said they were not in favour and 95% supported a minimum setback distance of 2km between any wind turbine and Appleton Wiske. The main concerns from respondents were noise, proximity to dwellings and schools, visual impact, and shadow flicker.
Appleton Wiske lies in the basin of the river Wiske and the land rises around the village. Because of this any prominent structure can be seen over a wide area and wind turbines would be more intrusive here than in some other areas.
National Government Planning Guidance was amended in June 2015 to require consultation with and support by local communities affected by wind turbine planning applications.
Hambleton District Council's Core Policy CP21 states that “development ... must seek to ensure that communities and the environment are not adversely affected by the action of natural and other forces. Proposals must take particular account of the need to mitigate development from the consequences of pollution, noise or hazardous activities”.
There is also now considerable scepticism about the benefits of wind turbines in CO2 savings due to the intermittent nature of their operation, which requires backup from conventional gas-fired power stations to ensure that supply can meet demand.
Taking all the above into account, any proposal for wind turbines must consider whether the benefits of the development would be outweighed by any harm identified.
Appleton Wiske's Neighbourhood Plan wind energy policy is that any proposed single or multiple wind turbine development will be opposed unless the developer can demonstrate that:
a) It brings demonstrable national and local benefits in terms of environmental, economic and social factors.
b) It does not have an unacceptable adverse impact on:
· Local amenity in respect of noise, vibration and shadow flicker
· Visual amenity
· Historic environment and heritage assets including their setting
· Landscape character
· Access to the countryside, including public footpaths and bridleways
· Biodiversity and nature conservation
· Soils, hydrology and water quality
· Flood risk
Note: the latter two points are specifically included due to the proximity of the river Wiske
c) With regard to noise, any wind turbine must comply with the “Den Brook” condition regarding amplitude modulation(1)
d) Siting and design minimise intrusion to levels acceptable to parishioners, including:
· Wind turbines, including their height, type and number
· Grid connection
· Associated infrastructure and buildings
· Access and the traffic generated during construction and operation;
e) The cumulative impact of wind turbines in and around Hambleton and surrounding districts, including their collective visibility.
f) The developer has meaningfully engaged and responded to the local community on the layout and design of proposals; and
g) Provision has been made for the removal of the facilities and reinstatement of the site when it has ceased to be operational, by means of a decommissioning bond.
Why don't we just have a mimimum set back distance?
Government planning guidance states that setback distances are not usually appropriate, so any statement on setback distances would be ignored. However, planning guidance issued in June 2015 requires any wind turbine planning application to have the support of the local community. Given the overwhelming rejection of wind turbines in the parish survey, Appleton Wiske's Neighbourhood Plan policy will oppose wind turbines unless the impact on local communities is demonstrated to be acceptable, and the plan is supported by local communities.