Our contacts at EPAW have sent us a link to a German video that shows in graphic detail what happens to small birds hit by wind turbines. Experts pronouce that birds are intelligent enough to 'avoid' turbines, what they don't tell you is thousands are killed because they don't fly into the turbines they are are simply blown into the blades by the strong winds that tend to prevail in flat landscapes. Just like Romney Marsh the turbine in the video is in the immediate proximity of a bird reserve. The anger of the cameraman at the suffering is clear. Be advised that some people may find the video upsetting.
The maker of this video wrote:
This video shows a flock (dozen) of partridges which was pressed on the base of a wind turbine.
The partridges flew with tailwind over an elevated plain. It was impossible for the birds to dodge the wind turbine.
The result were several broken necks and other bone fractures.
I have ended the suffering of some of the birds.
The wind turbines stand in a bird sanctuary! How is that possible? Thanks to the renewable-energy-lobbyists and some “poor” landowners that boom
can’t be stopped.
Following a very intense meeting Shepway District Council has refused to grant permission for the Old Romney Wind Farm. Despite this it seems the applicants, AirVolution Ltd, still intend to press ahead and the matter will be referred to the Planning Inspectorate for a Planning Inquiry to be held at a future date, possibly January 2016.
There remains a considerable amount of local opposition to the project with many people speaking out against the proposal on the night of the meeting. Residents across Romney Marsh have repeatedly voiced their concerns regarding the serious impact it will have on everything from wildlife to landscape and tourism.
It’s vital in this final stage that pressure is maintained and the Planning Inspector is made fully aware of the strength of peoples views. Recent changes in Government policies mean that in future these views must be taken into consideration.
Romney Marsh and S.O.M.B.R.E. need as many people as possible to email or write to the Planning Inspector and state their views. In exchange for just a small amount of your time, 30 minutes perhaps, you will be doing a great deal that may ultimately save the Marsh from further exploitation. Remember you don't have to be a resident, just someone who loves and enjoys the area as so many do.
LETTERS OR EMAILS MUST REACH THE PLANNING INSPECTOR
14th AUGUST 2015
The Planning Inspectorate, 3/ 14 Eagle Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square,
Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN
In every letter or email please quote the PINS reference of APP/L2250/A/15/3014364
and the Shepway Council Planning Reference Y13/0048/SH
As a group S.O.M.B.R.E cannot stress highly enough the importance of individuals taking the time to write. We know how people are reacting to the proposed blight these structures bring, we speak to people all the time who have very strong feelings. Make those feelings known!
Moaning about the wind farm to your neighbours or in the pub or the supermarket won’t make any difference. Complaining over dinner with your friends will never change anything. Writing will!
Make your concerns known to the the Planning Inspector. And please, please remember your single letter or email could be the tipping point and make all the difference, don’t just leave it to someone else. After all it will probably take just 30 minutes of your time, we understand your time is precious but then so is Romney Marsh.
SAVE OUR MARSH - BLOCK THIS RURAL EXPLOITATION
The Rt.Hon. Amber Rudd M.P., Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has responded to S.O.M.B.R.E.'s support to end the subsidies for all new on shore wind farms with effect from April 2016. From our inception we have campaigned to both highlight and terminate the staggering amount of tax payers funding that wind farm operators and landowners have been receiving. The Minister's letter also highlights the ongoing investment in tidal and wave energy, which S.O.M.B.R.E. considers to be far more viable and free from the terrible impact acres of wind farms have had on the countryside up and down the country.
S.O.M.B.R.E. is delighted to announce that it has received information from Shepway District Council Planners that Ecotricity is formally withdrawing its planning applications in relation to the Snave wind farm. Right across the Marsh residents and supporters are celebrating, one person reduced to tears as the stress of this long fight was finally removed from their life. We would like to thank all those who have stood firm and said NO! The activists and letter writers, one and all deserve a huge thank you.
The ongoing Airvolution application for four turbines on quality farmland owned by the Clifton-Holt family sadly remains but has received another substantial thumbs-down. The RSPB have added a recent objection and voiced their concerns about the impact the turbines might have on important bird species. S.O.M.B.R.E. feels the RSPB document is thoughtful and well presented and would encourage people to read it. The RSPB follows Natural England's similar concerns about the effect on bird spieces and also follow another letter of objection sent in November from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. It seems all these organisations share a similar view that the windfarm will have a considerable effect on indiginous and migratory birds.The full documents are available by following this link.
In conjunction with this application a second new submission has now been made for a test mast to be placed at the site for a two year period. S.O.M.B.R.E. will also oppose this application and are asking our supporters to make their views known to Shepway Planning Officers by following this link. Comment on the application
As the government has announced they are bringing forward the removal of subsidies for onshore wind farms to the 1st of April 2016, see article, we wonder if the Old Romney wind farm will still be financially viable. S.O.M.B.R.E. are hoping the example set by Ecotricity will be considered and another withdrawal announced shortly.
Of course we will provide future up dates when we receive further information.
If you have ever wandered along the side of the tranquil Royal Military Canal or enjoyed an early Sunday cycle ride through the winding picturesque lanes you may have wondered why Romney Marsh has never been designated a National Park.
Of course many think that a National Park has to have hills or mountains, a sweeping lake here and there perhaps. Here at S.O.M.B.R.E. we are taking a different view and are setting out to see how many people feel the same way as we do, that perhaps the Romney Marsh National Park is a vision that could become a reality.
From our research, if Romney Marsh became a designated National Park it would fall under the remit of the National Park Authorities (NPA's). NPA's have a statutory duty to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Parks, as well as promote public understanding of the special qualities of each area. In so doing there is an underlying requirement to cultivate the economic and social wellbeing of the communities living within each National Park. Designating the whole Marsh a National Park would help protect the area whilst simultaneously acknowledging its' rich environmental, natural and built cultural heritage. There would be significant opportunities for economic growth through tourism - particularly green tourism. Like proverbial 'green shoots' such areas need to be cared for and nurtured in order that they may grow and flourish now, and to enable future generations to enjoy them too.
Romney Marsh is a unique environment and has so much to offer, especially in a world where such special places are disappearing faster than ever before.
For this reason, S.O.M.B.R.E have launched a new campaign - A SOMBRE R.O.M.A.N.C.E (Redesignate Our Marsh A National Community Environment). So many people love the distinctive, tranquil beauty of the area - its' big skies; wide, open farmland; quiet country towns and villages; panoramic coastline and exceptional wildlife and we are keen to hear your views - Should Romney Marsh be designated one of the finest landscapes in England and receive National Park Status? Let us know what you think... For more click here
The Times has reported the Labour Party has secretly assured onshore wind farm companies that if they are returned to Government there will be a substantial increase in the number of wind turbines and that new projects will continue to attract subsidies. As a former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Milliband gave his blessing to the construction of 26 turbines at Little Cheyne Court on Romney Marsh, ignoring considerable local opposition from the local community as well as the views of a number of Wildlife and Countryside organisations. Since the last General Election, as the EU targets have been approached, there has been a sensible and measured reduction in the number of projects which have been granted planning permission. There has also been much more weight given to the views of local people, who have to live alongside these industrial structures, together with the impact turbines have on the countryside. Many challenge the worth of wind turbines as an efficient source of power, with some operators revealing that on certain days huge turbine arrays have only managed to produce enough power to boil a few kettles. The subsidies paid to operators continue to run into millions and add up to around £112 per annum, for each and every household in the country! S.O.M.B.R.E maintains the view that the stampede for wind energy subsidies is taking the focus away from the potential of tidal energy and much more could be done to encourage new projects. The Times article (subscription access) can be viewed by following this link.
Another turbine has collapsed, this time in Northern Ireland. The structure, which was manufactured by Nordex and appears to be identical to those sited at Little Cheyne Court, failed in what are described as normal operating conditions. A BBC news report has provided a witness account that the turbine, which was just over three years old, seemed to be out of control for a considerable period of time and that it could be heard from a distance of seven miles. S.O.M.B.R.E. is concerned that this incident tends to suggest a lack of fail safe control for turbines that run out of control. Isn't there safer option than to simply allow the turbine to self-destruct? A lot of these type of incidents seem to involve large turbines that have not been in operation for very long. When the turbine finally collapsed large pieces of debris were thrown hundreds of metres and can be seen in the BBC report, embedded in the ground.
In a recent letter to Shepway District Council Natural England has put forward it's objection to the windfarm at Lower Agney Farm Old Romney. Natural England's concerns about the effect on bird spieces follow another letter of objection sent in November from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Both organisations share a similar view that the windfarm will have an impact on both indiginous and migratory birds.
Follow the link below and click on 'Documents'
S.O.M.B.R.E. is responding cautiously following reports that the multi-millionaire owner of Ecotricity, Dale Vince, has decided to stop trying to get his proposals for new wind-farms past planners.
Mr. Vince, who is one of the UK’s most vocal proponents of wind power was given an O.B.E during the last Labour government and has made a substantial fortune from constructing wind farms across the UK. His company is one of a number that attract enormous taxpayers subsidies to generate power. His main complaint is that only around 50% of new schemes are being approved and that Government Ministers are putting too many obstructions in the way of new developments.
Ecotricity has faced massive opposition to it's proposal to install six 126.5m industrial turbines in the hamlet of Snave, on the environmentally sensitive Romney Marsh, close to a historic listed church. On top of this four more turbines had been proposed by Ecotricity at a second site a few miles away near Sellindge, close to an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Local people have been joined by others from far and wide in their efforts to protect the area and protest against the developments.
In an article published in The Times, 25th of November 2014, it has been reported that the wind farm magnate blames the Tories for halting the expansion of his wind farms.
Clearly the wind of fortune has changed and now seems to be favouring local people with the views of the community being taken into consideration at long last.
At this stage it is not known if Ecotricity's proposals for the wind farms at Snave and Sellindge will be included in his planned withdrawal but be assured that S.O.M.B.R.E. will continue to object and do everything possible to prevent the Romney Marsh, together with its historic churches and monuments, from being blighted by any further wind farm development.
A storm in the early hours of the 10th of November appears to have severely damaged one of the wind turbines at Little Cheyne Court on Romney Marsh, causing one of the 44 metre blades to fragment and throw debris from the central core of the blade to the ground. It is not clear if the turbine was struck by lightning or suffered a structural failure in the wind. Whatever the scenario it appears the 115 metre, 275 tonne turbine has suffered considerable damage and will probably be out of action for some time.
There are farm buildings in very close proximity to the turbine but fortunately on this occasion they dont appear to have sustained damage.
S.O.M.B.R.E. has consistently expressed valid concerns about the safety of these industrial units with clear evidence from sites in the USA and Europe proving that the turbines can cause damage to land, property and people.
Blades on the the larger turbines can weigh in at around 18 tonnes and even bigger 200 metre monster turbines planned for the future will have substantially heavier ones fitted.
When severed from the main unit, a blade can travel a significant distance. S.O.M.B.R.E. supporters have gathered a wealth of data on these alarming events, which are happening with increased frequency. The Caithness Wind farm Information Forum documents turbine related accidents and updates the information quarterly, see (Summary of Wind Turbine Accident data www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk). The research shows that ‘blade failure’ where whole blades or pieces of blade are thrown from a turbine accounts for the largest number of accidents. The report notes that pieces of blade are documented as travelling up to one mile from their source and in Germany, blade pieces have gone through the roofs and walls of nearby buildings.
Windbyte have gathered a huge amount of information relating to the the safety issues related to turbine and blade failure. Visit www.windbyte.co.uk
Last year the government issued revised Planning Permission Guidance in relation to renewable energy developments. S.O.M.B.R.E. supporters reacted cautiously to the news since the guidance omitted to impose a 2km ‘buffer zone’ on all future on-shore industrial wind turbine developments. Such a zone would prevent any onshore development from being sited too close to residential homes and other buildings.
DOES LIGHTNING STRIKE TWICE ?
Some say that such strikes probably only occur once in 100 years. Evidence from the Kentish Flats offshore wind farm tells another story, where one turbine blade is being replaced after being struck an astonishing three times. At least any flying debris would fall harmlessly in the sea! Read the article
LINCOLNSHIRE In February 2009 the Daily Mail reported a blade throw incident at a site run by Ecotricity at Conisholme, Lincolnshire. Intitial speculation was that a UFO had struck the turbine but an investigation revealed that material fatigue in the bolts securing the blade were the real cause. The turbine had been in operation for less than a year ! Read the full story
NORTH DAKOTA USA Pictures of damage sustained by in a turbine blade throw near Bismark North Dakota bear a striking resemblance to the images of the damaged turbine at Little Cheyne Court. See the images
SNAVE TEST MAST - APPEAL
Regrettably, we announce the result of the appeal by Ecotricity against Shepway District Council’s refusal to permit the company to site a 70m metereological test mast near Snave church. Unfortunately, we have been informed that the Planning Inspector has allowed the appeal by the developer and we now face the almost certain prospect of a temporary mast being erected in the idyllic hamlet of Snave.
The test mast is seen by many, as the precursor to a formal application by Ecotricity to erect six 126.5 metre wind turbines on this site.
Following overwelming objections from the community Shepway District Councillors opposed the original application for the mast in October 2013. The developer lodged an appeal in December 2013 and S.O.M.B.R.E. supporters which include several Town and Parish Councils and interest groups have waited nearly 10 months for the appeal decision. Many local residents are concerned about the impact on their health, on their homes, and on the wider natural and economic environment. More and more applied scientific research has been undertaken that prove such industrial developments have the potential to blight local rural areas.
The Planning Inspector in his report states that the main issue is the effect on the character and appearance of the rural area and cites policy that states that developments that do not protect or enhance the landscape…. will not be permitted unless the need to protect social and economic well-being outweighs the need to protect the landscape’s importance. He comments that the mast will not affect the setting of the listed church at Snave but does take on board the concerns noted by the airport and has recommended that certain conditions are imposed to increase the visibility of the mast.
Please join us in our fight to oppose further such developments on the environmentally sensitive Romney Marsh.
For further appeal information please follow the link to read the full report by the Planning Inspector
In response to the Planning Inspector's decision Damian Collins MP, the Conservative Member for Folkestone and Hythe, has today written to the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Mr Collins, who strongly supports the preservation of Romney Marsh as a coastal wetland, has highlighted the objections of his local constituents.
Mr Collins has kindly made his letter available to S.O.M.B.R.E.
OLD ROMNEY WIND FARM - STILL ACTIVE!
Compounding the bad news is the fact that the four turbine development at Old Romney (APPLICATION REF: Y13/0048/SH) is still being progressed, with further consultation documents currently being assessed by a range of consultees.
The developer, Air-volution is pressing ahead despite a huge number of residents and consultees stating their opposition to such developments on the Romney Marsh. Lydd Town Council has re-iterated its’ opposition to the scheme. Lydd Ashford Airport has previously outlined its firm opposition to the development. This is important since opposition from the airport is considered to be ‘expert testimony’ in Planning Law. S.O.M.B.R.E. supporters urge Shepway District Councillors to listen to the valid concerns of local experts and residents.
Unfortunately, however, Local Planning policy U14 means that the Romney Marsh is effectively ear-marked for these inappropriate and inefficient developments, which means we must battle strongly against each and every speculative application.
Like the recently erected Solar Farm nearby the proposed site is on agricultural land which, according to local newspaper reports, is owned by the family of Cllr Alan Clifton-Holt the Shepway District Councillor and Cabinet member for Economic Development. Until recently planning was one of his responsibilities. He is also the Conservative Ward Councillor for the Romney Marsh area. Read Reporter Paul Ecclestons article, Tories at War, on this issue
The additional turbines coupled with the recently erected solar farm and the 26 existing turbines at Little Cheyne Court will have a considerable impact on the westerly view from the A 259 at Old Romney. Just watch the video below to see just how much Romney Marsh is changing!
UKIP Kent County Councillor for Romney Marsh, Cllr David Baker has recently called for extended public consultation regarding the proposal. His comments were reported in an article published in the local Herald newspaper.
There is a clear and obvious need for military pilots to train for this type of flying and the flat landscape of Romney Marsh is probably ideal. SOMBRE is concerned that wind turbines and slender test masts, of the type Ecotricity propose, could present a serious hazard to these important operations. The Planning Inspector has noted the airports concerns and stipulated that the new test mast must be subject to measures that will make it more conspicuious.
Help the cause. Purchase a SOMBRE banner and put it in a conspicous place on your property. The large white, black and red vinyl banners, which are identical to the website heading, are £35 each (which is cost price). They come with eyelets to tie them in place and will raise people’s awareness of the serious threat that faces Romney Marsh. Orders can be placed via the contact page, let us know who you are, leave a contact number and we will do the rest on a cash on delivery basis.
SOMBRE is the local organisation challenging
Wind factory exploitation of Romney Marsh
There are currently plans for 4 giant turbines at
PLUS a further proposal for 6 similar turbines at
MORE will come unless we can stop them
THESE 400 FOOT TURBINES WILL COST YOU DEAR
Cost - The Loss of Prime Agricultural Land
Cost - Disruption to Animal and Bird Habitat
Cost - Lost Tourism Revenue
Cost - Reduced Property Values
Cost - Corporate Subsidies from the Tax Payer
Cost - Blighted Views and Landscape
IT ALL ADDS UP AND YOU'RE PAYING FOR IT - YOU MUST ACT!
The Marsh Must Fight Back!
or email us
Many Romney Marsh residents have been left reeling after the Sunday Telegraph examined official records from the energy giant RWE, who operate Little Cheyne Court. The figures have exposed just how little electricity the giant turbines produce at certain times, bolstering claims by critics that wind turbines cannot be relied upon to provide a constant source of electricity. RWE's £50 million on the site on Romney Marsh in Kent, is one of the largest in England. Its supply on the 22nd August was equivalent to the boiling of just 43 kettles - or 0.002 per cent of its maximum capacity of 59.8MW. This lack lustre performance was not isolated to one wind farm, figures from different sites around the country told the same story. Worse still, when the wind is too strong the turbines have to be shut down and compensating payments are made to the operators. Such payments - known as constraint payments - have reached £7.5 million for the first three weeks of August. Anyone for Green Tea? Read More
Activists and Campaigning Groups up and down the country, including SOMBRE, applauded news of the Scottish Governments refusal to allow another massive wind farm to
be built in Scotland’s wild and picturesque landscape. Many Scots have long been voicing their concerns over the loss of some of the finest open land in Europe to such projects. Now, at long last, it
seems their objections are finally being listened to. Read more
With people struggling to pay their bills and more families than ever before facing the spectre of fuel poverty Scotland on Sunday has revealed power companies operating wind farms in Scotland were paid over a £1 million to shut down their turbines for one single day last month simply because the power they were producing exceeded demand.
Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “Constraint payments to wind are well in excess of the lost subsidy income, suggesting that the industry is taking advantage of the difficulties that they cause on the network.
“While perfectly legal, this is clearly unfair, and the regulator Ofgem needs to step in to protect the consumer.”
From the outset SOMBRE has always been highly sceptical of the employment opportunities wind farm developers promise communities. It is now clear that the handful of jobs attract massive Government hand outs.
The Telegraph has revealed the staggering subsides paid per job in the wind industry. While it appears the average subsidy per job is £100,000 there is apparently one Kent based wind farm attracting an eye watering £1.77 million pounds a year for each one of its 90 employees. Read more.
Help raise our profile - There are still many people living in the area who are unaware of how the wind farms will affect Romney Marsh. By displaying one of SOMBRE's conspicious car stickers or the larger self adhesive wheelie-bin stickers you will help get the message through to everyone. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do wind farms damage your health? Have you heard of Wind Turbine Syndrome? Following studies from around the world many people seem to be suffering from ill-health which may be caused by living in close proximity to wind turbines. Read James Delingpole's article and see what you think.
KENT IS VOTED THE BEST DESTINATION FOR FAMILY HOLIDAYS IN EUROPE
Just as S.O.M.B.R.E initiated a discussion on Kent's first national park one of the corner stone guides to global travel, Lonely Planet, has placed Kent at the top of a list of European family destinations.
We are delighted that the beauty and diversity of the county is attracting so many visitors and bringing with it a great boost to tourism.
We have maintained from the outset that ranks of turbines and acres of glazed fields will do nothing but damage the tourism potential of Romney Marsh which has so much to offer as a National Park.
In an article published in the Guardian by Will Coldwell the county was praised for "the opporunities it offers curious young minds." we could not agree more! Read the article
Simon Jenkins, the out going chairman of the National Trust, has delivered a forthright message to those who are allowing the ruination of the English landscape. Writing in the Daily Mail he has highlighted how "Tat" is blighting the countryside. The unique area of Romney Marsh is a case in point and S.O.M.B.R.E. agrees with everything he says, but is anyone listening?
Environment Secretary speaks out on Solar Farm Blight
Liz Truss, the Environment Secretary, plans to axe taxpayers subsidies to farmers and landowners cashing in on renewables. She is concerned that thousands of acres of prime farmland are being given over to the generation of renewable energy whilst we are still importing a considerable proportion of our food.
A landowner can make £2.5 million over 25 years from a 100 acre solar farm.
An acre of wheat will produce 45,000 sandwiches and net the landowner around £500. Over the same period of 25 years 100 acres will provide the land owner with around £1.25 million.
Read more Daily Mail Article
London School of Economics confirms wind farms blight property prices
A 12 year study by the LSE has officially confirmed that the value of homes within 1.2 miles of a wind farm are being slashed by up to 12 per cent. Worse still, larger clusters of more than 20 turbines can have a bearing on house prices across a distance of over 8 miles. The existing 26 turbines at Little Cheyne Court, together with the additional 14 proposed turbines planned for the area, could seriously effect Romney Marsh property values.
In an article published recently specific reference is made to homes on Romney Marsh.
Click here Read more
To read the full LSE report
Click here LSE Draft Report
SOMBRE on Meridian TV News
Following the release of the LSE draft report Meridian TV news ran an item on the effect on Romney Marsh of Little Cheyne Court and asked SOMBRE to comment on the issue of wind farm property blight.
Click here to view the
Meridian TV News item
The Community Secretary Acts on Consultation
Residents will have to be consulted over applications for wind farms in their area, under new laws set to come into force next month. Currently only developers of a handful of the biggest wind farms have to discuss the implications of their projects with local people. But new rules from the department of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will mean even small developments of two or more turbines which are at least 50ft high will have to go through a similar process. Read the rest of the article
NA-PAW Video Disputes Vesta's claims
NA-PAW, The North American Platform Against WindPower, released this video last week. The video responds to the new Vestas' campaign, Act on Facts. Called, Get Real, Vestas! it disputes the wind energy giant's promotional material, the video speaks of environmental damage, wildlife kills, effects to human health, and self-evident world wide protests. Click here to view the video
Proof that wind farms are not profitable without massive subsidies
Energy giant Centrica is preparing to abandon a £2bn offshore wind farm project because subsidies offered by the government are too low.
In 2012 Centrica, reported a 15% rise in first-half adjusted operating profits to £1.45bn. The results include a 23% rise in operating profits at its residential energy division, British Gas, to £345m. Despite such profits in other areas it seems to confirm that wind generated energy does not attract such lucrative returns without being subsidised by the tax payer.
Trying to sell your property ?
Property experts said the controversial structures, which campaigners say are a blight on the British landscape, can reduce the value of homes by up to eight per cent. The Telegraph's Alison Philipson has uncovered something of concern to all home owners
Community objections - In Britain they couldn't care less
This astonishing story from Warwickshire, reported by the BBC, serves to indicate that large wind farm speculators are just not listening to community objections. Despite one company being refused permission to site turbines close to a listed church, after just two years, another company has stepped forward and made an almost identical application for the same site.
But in France it's a different story
A couple have won a landmark legal battle to have 10 wind turbines taken down because they spoil the view from their dream home in France.
In a judgement which could have widespread implication across Europe, including Britain, the husband and wife successfully argued that the 360ft high structures ruined their quality of life.
The Bishop of Newcastle says No!
The Rt Revd Martin Wharton hits out at “the harm that is being done to our beautiful landscape on which the health of our rural economy, and especially tourism, depends.
Look - What the Government don't want you to see
No sooner than a Goverment website published an infographic comparing the abysmal performance of Wind Farms and Solar Parks with one Nuclear power station it was mysteriously pulled. The Telegraph's Will Heaven has revealed the item and made a copy of the graphic available. View Graphic