Here is an e-mail I received from a resident who will be much affected by the new proposal, with kind permission from them to show it on my blog. I felt it succinctly conveyed the feelings of most of us, from the communications I have been receiving from residents in my ward, Stoke Park.
I have not edited it and have shown the letter in full.
We attended the South West area committee meeting of Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) on 7th November at Suffolk New Academy.
It was at the invitation of a SIT (Stop Ipswich Turbines) Action Group that IBC agreed to invite both SIT and yourselves to speak at this meeting and put both sides of the argument for the erection of 2 wind turbines at Thorington Barn overlooking Belstead Village, Pinewood, Thorington Park and Stoke Park. The land is owned by IBC but any planning application would go to Babergh Disctrict Council (BDC).
SIT made their statement and you (PfR) responded.
With regard to your responses we would comment as follows:-
Noise disturbance to residents
1. Your representative said the area already had a high level of noise both from the A14 and other background noise. This made it sound to us that this justified your company imposing more noise on residents in the area. No mention was made of what “other background noise” you were referring to.
It was pointed out by SIT that the poor road surface on the A14 was a contributory factor to the high level of noise you are recording and that the Highways Authority were hoping to deal with this shortly. Will you be re-assessing the noise levels once this has been done?
Mention was made of the wind turbines being quiet under “normal circumstances”. What do you class as “normal circumstances”?
2. SIT referred to the problems Kessingland were having with noise from the 2 wind turbines erected there. Your response was that the problems with noise they were experiencing were different and that it would not happen at the Thorington Barn site! Surely noise is noise and if you cannot guarantee your turbines will be noise free, we will take it from the residents of Kessingland that we will experience the sort of disturbance to our lives they are experiencing as a direct result of the erection of these turbines.
1. Your response to the problem of flicker disturbance to residents was dubious to say the least. It was said it would only affect houses. Unfortunately SIT have evidence that it does in fact also affect ground level, including road surfaces. This could have a devastating effect on traffic along the A14.
2. You were unable to tell us how many people would be affected by possible flicker and mentioned the worst consequences of flicker could be mitigated during the design process. You seem to have missed the point entirely. These residents are not affected by any flicker at the moment and you are proposing to inflict this on them with this proposal. Also, your response did not mention the affect the flicker will have on anyone who has epilepsy. What will the consequences be on their quality of life if they are affected?
Visual effect on the countryside
Your representative did not respond to the visual effect on the countryside raised by SIT.
The area for the proposed wind turbine site is used by many from both Belstead Ipswich and other surrounding areas for walking, bird watching and other recreational activities and the noise/flicker generated by the turbines would destroy this pleasure.
No mention was made of the visual effect of the wind turbines in Belstead village. All residents will see the turbines but most will be within 500 – 800 metres from them. When they walk outside their front doors they will be towering above them.
As mentioned by SIT the law is outdated as to how far away from residential properties the turbines are allowed to be but surely you have a MORAL obligation to people not to put them so close to residential properties. Scotland have an advisory limit of 2km away from residential properties and even this isn’t enough in some cases.
How many people would be affected by the Wind Turbines within 2 km radius?
It appears you had no idea of the people/properties who could be affected by the erection of these wind turbines within a radius of 2 km but you did know on a clear day they could be seen 30 km (18 miles) away! This implies to us that not a lot of consideration is given to residents who may be affected. Certainly you are failing miserably to “consult” with residents in Belstead, Pinewood, Thorington Park and Stoke Park.
Figures quoted for energy production
Your representative quoted the figures these wind turbines would produce when “at full capacity”. As everyone knows, these turbines NEVER run “at full capacity” so the figures are completely irrelevant.
One questioner asked if residents affected by your proposal would get cheaper electricity and again the response “no”.
Applying for and the grant of Planning Consent
The most shocking part of the evening came when your representative explained you would be applying for planning consent from Babergh District Council for the erection of the 2 wind turbines WITHOUT specifying the exact size and type of turbine which would eventually be erected and BDC would grant planning consent on this basis. This cannot be right! If we or any other member of the public applied for planning for an extension on our properties and did not give precise details of the materials to be used etc, there is no way BDC would grant us planning consent.
2 – 3 Wind Turbines at Thorington Barn?
Your representative said you were looking at putting a “maximum” of 2 wind turbines on the site so why are they handing out leaflets clearly showing 3 locations on the map?
Distance from residential properties
Your representative did not mention that the proposed wind turbines would be only 500 metres away from residential properties. When I asked another of your representatives how she would feel if she lived so close to them she replied that she lived near a power station, as if that was a good enough reason for the turbines to be inflicted on us! Perhaps she had the choice BEFORE she moved to her present property and was able to make an informed decision, unlike us!
You mentioned on several occasions the question of “consultation” with those affected. Well, as mentioned above you are falling well short of your obligations to residents who will
be affected if this proposal goes ahead. It appears to us that your first obligations are to your shareholders and not to those whose lives will be ruined by this proposal.
Had it not been for the formation of the SIT Action Group most of us would not have realised the significance of your proposal and we suspect had it not been for the formation of this group we would not have heard from you until it was too late.
Well, here again there appears to be some problem with IBC or yourselves letting anyone have a copy of this illusive agreement so residents of Ipswich can consider its implications. Unfortunately IBC decided to play the “political card” and opt out of responsibility for the grant of the lease as if there was nothing they could do to stop any application if their residents asked them to.
It was clear to us that IBC had let down their residents in the first place by agreeing to grant the lease to PfR without proper consultation with those residents would be affected by such a monumental proposal. Once in place, the residents will have to put up with them for 25 YEARS - this will be for the rest of our lives)! Surely this was enough to make the Council think twice and write personally to everyone concerned.
In general, we felt that we did not gain much from your representatives being at the meeting because most of the responses given were “they could not give a definite response yet”! Well, when will you give us definite responses to ALL our concerns?
We, along with many other people we have spoken to, did not have any objection to the erection of wind turbines until this proposal came along in the naive, mistaken belief that your company and others like you would not consider erecting massive wind turbines so close to residential properties. These kind of proposals will prove your undoing when more and more people realise the devastating effects they will have on their everyday lives.
Make no mistake about it, we in Belstead Village and other members of the action group SIT are determined to fight to stop BDC granting planning consent for your proposal. If you are in any doubt about the strength of feeling against your proposal then drive through the village and come and speak to us individually.
Mr and Mrs Daynes - Belstead village