Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Friday 2nd November 2007 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

 

 

ACTION

Present

Vice Chairman David Hook, Mrs Debbie Ashford, Richard Delf, Mr Geoffrey Moulton, David Pointer, Hamish Rose, and Clerk - Ian Nelson. 

 

 

Members of the public present and identified                                                                                

Richard Bacon MP, County Councillor Mrs Stella Rice, District Councillor Michael Windridge, Geoffrey Moulton, John Ellis, Debbie Ashford, Mr Bevin Lincoln, Mr Bob Norman, Mrs Julie Norman, Mrs Irene Edwards, Miss Marion Rudling, Mrs Sandra Sigsworth, Mrs Gill Edden, Mrs Yvonne Davy, Mrs Melanie Hook, Ms Georgina Warne, Mrs Beverley Penn, Mr David Penn, Mrs Jackie Lee-Smith, Miss M J Emery, Mr Maurice Matterson, Mr Gary Hewett, Mrs Sylvia Cundy, Mr Ian Cundy, Mrs Tracy Krumins, Mrs Jo Nolan, Mr Steve Oldfield, Mrs Deborah Oldfield, Mr John Nolan, Mrs Lyn Woodwark, Mr Nigel Woodwark, Mr Roger Parker, Mrs Julie Parker, Mr Nigel Mills, Mrs Amanda Mills, Miss Becky Mills, Mrs Janette Franks, Mrs Hilary Batty, Mr Martin & Mrs Jean Croft, Mr Michael & Mrs Mary Brown, Mr Trevor & Mrs Patsy Shurmer, Mr Alan Benstead, Mr Mike Saul, Mrs Beryl Sutton, Mr Andrew Kay, Mr Paul Blyth, Mr John and Mrs Lynda Stone, Mr Chris Lehrbach, Mr Kevin Spall, Mr John & Mrs Maddy Houchen, Mr A Hodge, Mrs Anne Linden, Mr Geoff Pinder, Mr D Montaigue, Mrs Ann Smith, Mr Kevin & Mrs Ann Bright, Mr Martin Ogilvie, Miss Valerie Bailey, Miss Adrienne Bailey, Mr M J Boon, Mr Jimmy Dye, Mr Keith Walpole, Mrs Alison Lincoln, Mr & Mrs Terence Joyce, Mr Bruce & Mrs Liz Austin, Mr Philip Lamming, Miss Lisa Cornish, Mrs Karen Blyth, Mr William Goff, Mr Richard Gamble, Mr A & Mrs P Clements, Mr M & Mrs LA Storey, Mrs Carolyn Rush, Mr Matthew Bignell, Mr Carl Wade, Mr Brian Curtis, Mr Michael Holmes, Mr David Humphreys, Mr David Jackson, Mr John & Mrs Beryl Taylor, Mr Bernard & Mrs Sarah Smith, Mr Bill & Mrs Paula Bailey, Mrs Kate Daynes, Mr Alan Harper, Mr Michael & Mrs Margaret McPherson, Mr Chris & Mrs Suzanne Johnson, Ms Kirstin Gunther, Mrs Vivienne Hewitt, Mr Clive Francis, Ms Christine Thompson, Mr Ivan & Mrs Brenda Roll, Mr Walter Pipe, Mr Chris Wickenden, Mr William & Mrs Linda Lloyd, Mr Robin Smith, Mr Alan & Mrs Marion Folkes, Mrs Barbara Brett, Mr Dennis & Mrs Tina Beckett, Mrs Diane Freeman, Mr D Burrows, Mrs Jill Turner, Mrs Beryl Peakall, Dr Steven & Mrs Jean Griffiths, Mrs Irene Lincoln, Mr & Mrs A Bowyer, Mrs Stephanie Stretton, Mr Damian Ashcroft, Mr Dave Clements, Mr Alan & Mrs Cindy Mayes, Mr & Mrs Crummett, Mrs Christine Barnes, Mr Nigel Cooper, Mr & Mrs C G Matthews, Mr Neil Smith, Mr Melvyn Gooch, Mrs Curtis, Mr Gary & Mrs Cheryl Hewett, Mr Nigel Hollinger, Mr Kenneth Hewitt, Mr Shaun Wright, Mr Roger & Mrs Pat Pascall, Mr Roger Stretton, Mr Robert & Mrs Jane Johnson, Mrs Lynn Roberts, Mr Kevin & Mrs Debbie Adams, Mr Ben & Mrs Elizabeth Aires, Mrs Jean Wright, Mrs Jennie Utting, Mrs Celia Wigg, Mars Mary Kaye, Mr Ron & Mrs Joan Hearn, Mrs Marie Frances, Mr Clive & the Mrs Christine Britcher, Mrs Lucy Melrose, Mr Richard Mills, Miss Samantha Mills, Lady Margaret Attlee, Mrs Christine Stone, Mr Hugh Hodges, Mr Peter& Mrs Jackie Barnes, Mr Anthony Smith, Mr Paul Kilbourn, Mr Oliver Kilbourn, Mrs Sophie Randall, Mrs Lesley Coyne, Mr Paul & Mrs Elizabeth Craske, Mrs Wendy Allard, Mr Stephen Edwards, Mr Gareth Jeffery,  Mr Davis White, Mrs Hope Lee-Smith, Mr Tim Stockwell, Mr John & Susan Bond, Mr Michael Chamberlain, Jan Harries, Mr David Alden, Miss Tracy Loader, Mr Henry Krumins, Mrs Nelda Krumins, Mr Stephen & Brenda Gilbert, Mrs Bridget Santander, Ms Sue Ritchie, Mr Andy Bryant, Mrs Tracey Kell, Mr Richard Stamp, Mr Clifford & Mrs Jackie Lee-Smith, Mr Brian Thrower, Mr Jonathan Mills, Mrs Annette Pointer, Mrs Valerie Gunther,

 

 

 

 

 

Apologies & Declarations of  Interest

Apologies were received from Parish Councillor Peter Workman due to work commitments, Parish Councillor Liz Allen due to her pecuniary interest in the matter.

 

The following people sent their apologies and wished to register their strong opposition to the proposed wind turbines:

Mr Andre & Mrs Sue Wingfield

Mr Mark & Mrs Lynn Woods

Mrs Lesley Mitchenall

Mr Andy & Mrs Lucy Keats

Mr Michael Franks

 

 

Procedural matters

Mr Hook explained that the parish council were still subject to the predetermination rules due to the fact the planning application for the wind turbines had not yet been submitted. Furthermore, Parish Councillors Geoffrey Moulton and Debbie Ashford had declared an interest, being members of SHOWT, and would not be sitting on the parish council table.

 

 

Purpose of the meeting

Mr Hook explained that the parish council had called the meeting in response to a request from a resident that was supported by the District Councillor.

 

The main purpose of the meeting was to allow residents to give their opinions on the wind turbines proposal to parish councillors.

 

When Enertrag UK Ltd declined to appear the parish council decided to continue with the meeting because the main purpose for it -- namely to ascertain residents views  -- was not compromised by Enertrag's failure to appear.

 

The parish council did not feel that it had misled the village in any way. It advertised its invitation to Enertrag publicly and it sent out two invitations urging their presence. The failure of Enertrag to appear had nothing to do with the actions of the parish council.

 

 

Enertrag UK Ltd non-participation

Mr Hook read the chain of correspondence between the parish council and Enertrag which is reproduced in full below for information:

 

The parish council’s 1st Invitation:

 

Dear Mr Linley

 

The parishioners have, for some time, asked for a public meeting to be arranged at which both Enertrag and SHOWT are invited to put their cases followed by an opportunity for questions. The parish council now feel that it is an appropriate time to hold a parish council meeting specifically for this purpose and therefore I extend an invitation to Enertrag/SHOWT to be represented.

 

Due to the anticipated level of interest it will be necessary to hold the meeting in the main hall of Hempnall village hall. As the village hall is well used by the community the dates available are very limited. The date set for the meeting is Friday 2 November 2007, commencing at 7.30pm.

 

The purpose and format of the meeting will be introduced by the parish council. (Please note that Mr Moulton will not be chairing the meeting or be attending as a parish councillor due to his interest in SHOWT). Councillors offer both Enertrag and SHOWT a slot (up to 30 minutes) to make a presentation to the meeting. Opportunity will then be offered to the public and parish councillors to ask questions of both organisations.

 If you would like access to the village hall early to set up any displays etc please let me know so that I can make appropriate arrangements.

 

I trust that as this issue is so important to all concerned you will make every effort to accept this invitation and look forward to hearing from you accordingly.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Ian Nelson

 

 

Enertrag’s  Response:

Dear Mr Nelson,

 

Further to your faxed e-mail dated 30 September 2007 please find a response below.

 

Enertrag UK Ltd have already carried out an extensive consultation process within Hempnall and the surrounding parishes which has comprised of three exhibitions at Hempnall, one at Shotesham and Saxlingham Nethergate, meetings with the local parish councils at many of the surrounding parishes and documentation being circulated throughout the area. Through experience we have found that this type of consultation provides the ideal forum for members of the public to attend and discuss matters regarding the wind farm in a relaxed environment.

 

Unfortunately public meetings do usually become a platform for protest groups.  This serves no purpose in informing the public but turns the process into a circus, I am sure you would agree that this is not acceptable to the parish council and would therefore respectable decision to decline will offer.

 

I also note that your website shows figures for letters received by ourselves as 65 people against the proposal and 5 for.  I am not sure where you have obtained these figures but they are incorrect and I would appreciate that you remove them without delay.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Terry Chapelhow

 

 

Parish Council’s  2nd Invitation

Dear Mr Chapelhow

Thank you for your response of 9th October to our invitation to a public meeting. We are very disappointed you feel you do not wish to attend. We understand that you have carried out your own exhibitions and meetings. We see the meeting as an opportunity for all parties to provide information to the parish council and the public alike. On such an important matter it is crucial that the public have all the relevant information. We note that you have attended parish council meetings in the surrounding villages; we were therefore expecting that, as Hempnall is the village most affected by the proposed development, you would afford our parish council and the villagers the same privilege.

 

This is a genuine attempt by the parish council to have the issues surrounding the proposed development formally presented to the public, which is why the meeting is to be called as a formal parish council meeting. This will ensure that the parish council will control the meeting and not allow it to be high-jacked, as you put it, by any party. The parish council does have the power to eject people from the meeting if necessary. If you have suggestions for the format of the meeting please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your wishes.

 

 We urge you strongly to reconsider accepting the invitation and look forward to your response.

 

With regard to the figures on the website, these were supplied by email on 3rd May 2007 by David Linley of Enertrag and thus I assume were accurate at the time. They appear on the website as part of the Spring 2007 newsletter together with the results of several other surveys. You will note that items such as historical minutes, newsletters and other information are retained on the site as a matter of policy. As the item concerned can plainly be seen as being an historical document and the figures were supplied by your company I see no reason to remove them.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Nelson

 

Enertrag’s 2nd Response:

Dear Ian

 

Further to your email below we have made our position clear in the letter of the 9.10.07.

 

Best Regards

 

Terry Chapelhow

 

 

Enertrag’s Final Response:

Dear Ian

 

Please can you ensure that the statement that accompanies this letter is read at your parish public meeting?

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jeni Arnold

 

 

Mr Hook read the following statement to the meeting:

 

Enertrag UK made the decision that attending this meeting would serve no meaningful purpose.  We have held three exhibitions in the village this year where many people have attended and been able to ask questions in a far more private manner, in publicising these events we have always given contact details, so if anyone would like to ask questions they have had the details to do so, without attending the exhibitions.  With past experience it has been found the people of a generally positive or unknown view to such proposal either keep away or due to the vociferous negative people present feel intimidated from asking many questions, instead, waiting to the end of the meeting and asking representatives then.

 

We have held small parish council meetings in the surrounding villages, where we haven't held such exhibitions, these have helped the information in these smaller settings, but even then it has been hard to the chair to control the floor from interruptions, over talking and not stopping when asked.  In a larger environment we can see the control of the floor will be even harder, thus rendering the point useless as a tool for giving valuable information.

 

Questions are really delivered to both parties, so a debate over particular details is not likely.  Should anyone wish to have information from Enertrag UK please do contact us on any of the following ways:

Enertrag UK

Suite H

Diss Business Park

Hopper Way

Diss

Norfolk

IP22 4GT

 

Telephone 01379 642564

Fax 01379 641869

 

Email enquires@entertraguk.com ; tchapelhow@enertraguk.com ; jarnold@enetraguk.com

 

There are cards available with this information here.

 

If we have offended anyone by not being here we apologise.

 

 

District Councillor Mr Windridge

District Councillor Mr Windridge thanked the parish council for organising the meeting and explained that he thought the benefits of onshore wind farms had been greatly exaggerated. Mr Windridge introduced Mr Richard Bacon MP representing South Norfolk.

 

Mr Richard Bacon MP

Mr Bacon congratulated the parish council on organising the meeting and empathised with the meeting by adding his own great disappointment that Enertrag had not attended.  He felt that any company that was doing something that affects others in such a dramatic way ought to be bending over backwards to deal with any issues those people had, and was therefore very surprised that Enertrag had not taken every opportunity to do so, and thus their action spoke volumes about their attitude.

 

Mr Bacon explained that the reason the whole country was seeing an acceleration in proposed wind farm developments was due to the fact that there was a change to take place in 2010 regarding the incentives available to the constructors, thus making it less profitable for them to build onshore wind turbines after that date.

 

He indicated that such developments spoilt the landscape, have a negative effect on property values and that there are other issues regarding health.  There was increasing doubt as to the benefit of onshore wind turbines with greater emphasis being placed on offshore developments following the trends witnessed in Denmark and Germany.

 

Mr Bacon urged people to read the learned academic papers on the website www.windaction.org covering such subjects as noise and visual impact. He referred to one academic paper which warned that the development companies systematically misrepresent the visual impact by failing to observe the basic rules relating to composite pictures and he therefore suggested that people did not accept the total montages at face value.

 

Mr Bacon made reference to the news article in today's Eastern Daily Press which indicated that wind turbines projects, particularly in this region, affected military radar and aviation and would therefore most likely be objected to by the Ministry of Defence. There was also the question of the distortion effects on TV and radio signals.

 

 

Public Questions to Mr Bacon:

 

Mr Alan Benstead stated that an Ofgem Report on Sustainable Energy recognised that it cost two to three times more to produce wind energy than conventional power, and Denmark, Ireland and Norway had scrapped their policy of grants to developers, so why was the UK government still encouraging onshore wind turbines?

 

Mr Bacon agreed with the sentiment and said that even those in favour of wind turbines state that they do not work more than half the time due to the unpredictability of the wind. He recognised that the country needed a mix of energy production and considered that tidal power was a far more reliable and cost-effective source.

 

A gentleman (name unknown) enquired why there were no regulations regarding the health and safety issues relating to wind farms.

 

Mr Bacon explained that health and safety regulations were built up over a number of years as a body of evidence was built up.

 

The gentleman asked: why wait until people are ill before the regulations are made?

 

Mr Bacon hoped that would not be the case.

 

Mrs Yvonne Davy explained that she had been to Cley on Sea RSPB Eco Centre which had its own small wind turbine which provided 80% of the Centre’s electricity.

 

Mr Bacon responded that no one was saying that we should not make use of wind power but the construction of massive industrial structures in the gentle rural landscape is very questionable when the main reason for building them is to obtain grants paid for by the general public.

 

Mr Alan Harper stated that common sense would tell one to build wind farms in the north of Scotland.

 

Mr Bacon said that common sense indicated that most wind is obtainable offshore, known engineering technology such as used for oil platforms should be suitable, and offshore provided the opportunity for larger wind farms providing economies of scale.

 

Mrs Beryl Peakall expressed concern over the health issues to children attending Hempnall School as it was only ¾ mile from the turbines compare to recommended safe distance for children (that she had read in an article) of 1½ mile.

 

 

SHOWT Presentation

Mr Moulton introduced members of SHOWT committee and proceeded to give the following presentation:

Brief history of SHOWT

Formed towards the end of 2006 when Enertrag (UK) Ltd declared their intention to build 7 industrial wind turbines on the borders of Hempnall, Saxlingham, Shotesham, Woodton and Brooke

SHOWT is a group of people, currently with a supporter base of 898 people, 547 of whom are from Hempnall which represents more than 50% of the voting population. All of the supporters oppose the proposal on the grounds of the adverse impact it will have on our landscape and our environment

Mission statement

·         We recognise the need to reduce CO2 emissions and in turn, global warming

·         Totally support the concept of renewable energy

·         Support offshore wind farms and are not wholly opposed to on-shore wind farms but only in appropriate locations!!

·         SHOWT are members of the Renewable Energy Foundation

 

Why the rush towards on-shore wind farms?

In the last 12 months there have been 3 applications, or notices of intention to build onshore wind farms in our area. In addition to Hempnall, further applications have been made in Hethel and Pulham. All fall within the scope of South Norfolk Council’s jurisdiction.

Must be remembered that the proposal we have before us, is a capital driven project and not a proposal geared to save the planet.

“Go green” is the current buzz cliché in the media, and in local and central government, and whilst in general terms no one would argue with the concept per se, on-shore wind generation will never make anything close to a meaningful contribution towards reducing global warming, we are all being hoodwinked by the wind lobby!!

 

Who benefits, what is it costing and who’s paying for it?

Benefits:

Companies such as Enertrag (UK) Ltd are currently welcoming the opportunity to jump on the green energy bandwagon because there are enormous subsidies available to them and the landowners via the ROCS payment system, this is an extremely lucrative venture for both of them.

It has been suggested that landowners alone are paid up to £20k per turbine per annum and this is without any up front payments. You do not need a calculator to establish why landowners suddenly, and overnight, become aware of climate change!!

Cost:

In the last 2-3 years, £1.8B has been spent on onshore wind farm subsidies. This has produced just 0.5% of the nation’s power! Is this really good use of our money?

Furthermore, and if the current trend towards onshore wind generation continues, by 2010, these subsidies will cost the nation in the region of £1B p.a. The subsidies are paid for by all of us via the 2% surcharge which appears on the bottom of all of our electricity bills

ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates)

All energy generation companies such as Powergen are obliged to buy 10% of their energy needs from renewable energy sources and via ROCs. The cost of such electricity is approximately twice that of nuclear or coal fired power generation

Currently, the ROCs payment for on-shore wind generation is exactly the same as for offshore. With the associated costs for constructing offshore sites considerably exceeding those for onshore, it is not really surprising that companies like Enertrag choose the cheaper option in villages such as Hempnall.

We are encouraged however to note that the Chancellor, in his last budget, and in recognising that on-shore wind companies were being grossly over subsidised, changed the formula for ROCS payments. From 2010, the subsidies available for onshore wind farms will only be 65% of those available for offshore.

Why did Enertrag choose this site?

They suggest that it’s in a large and uninterrupted area and far enough from domestic dwellings

The closest houses, in Hempnall and Saxlingham are just 600-700 metres from the nearest turbines; in France the minimum distance is 1000 metres, 50% further!

We believe Enertrag chose this site because they found two neighbouring landowners who were willing to share the financial spoils.

From a scientific aspect it does not stack up being in an area of low wind speed.

South Norfolk Council has identified this area as an area of high sensitivity in their “draft” wind farm sensitivity study. We will be encouraged to learn that the draft form has been ratified.

CPRE has identified this area as being of “high importance” in their recent Rural Tranquillity Programme.

 

Mr Moulton handed over to Mrs Battye who presented as follows:

 

 

I have lived in Hempnall for 25years and brought up 4 children here. We think the visual impact on this landscape of the proposed wind farm  is unacceptable  for many  reasons:

 

The turbines will be up to 426ft high THAT is 111 ft higher than Norwich Cathedral. 7 times higher than Hempnall church.

 

Their blades rotate at 200 mph at the tip, do not underestimate the impact of the vast rotating blades on our skyline nor the vast shadows up to 900 meters across our landscape, the nearest houses in Old Market Way are only 700 metres away.

 

There are 5 conservation areas which will be affected and 2 SSI woods within the site itself and numerous listed buildings in the affected villages, with 51 in Hempnall alone.  There will be clear views from the ancient Boudicas way.

 

If the proposed access is alongside Nobbs’s Loke then that unspoilt tract of countryside will be irredeemably blighted too.

 

You will see the turbines clearly from Shotesham, Saxlingham, Saxlingham Green, Fritton, Woodton and here in Hempnall.  A zone of visual influence produced for another project at South Elmham showed potential turbine visibility at 20kms.

 

Also do not forget the cumulative effect of other proposals such as Dickleburgh. South Norfolk’s Supplementary Planning Guidance is clear that an assessment must be made where a proposal is within 20kms of another scheme and this must consider the affect on the perception of the landscape as a whole.

 

This proposal goes against the conclusions reached by two studies commissioned by South Norfolk Council firstly their Landscape Assessment 2006 and secondly their Wind Turbine Sensitivity Study 2006 already mentioned, which are in place to protect our landscape and describe this area as highly sensitive to a group of turbines such as this, and ALSO sensitive to intrusion by tall and large elements.   Clearly all the guidance available indicates this to be visually  an inappropriate site

 

Although a financial guarantee will be put in place for the decommissioning at the end of 25 years it’s the landowner’s job to do it! And what happens if Enertrag UK have long since gone and repairs need to be undertaken, who is responsible then?

 

Enertrag constantly refer us to their North Pickenham site although I am bewildered as to why, in their own planning application they refer to that site as an area of,   to quote ‘low sensitivity’ ‘of generally low quality’ ‘less attractive’ and then specifically mention that the site already has ‘a telecommunication mast, pylons, silos, remnants of the airbase and a row of silos’.  It could also mention the turkey and chicken sheds, the go cart track, and the Anglian Water plant!  If that site was so suitable for all those reasons then one can only deduce from it the unsuitability of the Hempnall site. You can’t have it both ways!

 

 

In summary South Norfolk’s own policy on the granting of planning for renewable energy projects clearly states that ‘the benefits of granting permission MUST BE weighed against   HARM to the locality in terms of visual intrusion.  SHOWT do not think this test can be met.

 

 

Mrs Battye handed back to Mr Moulton who presented as follows:

 

 

Carbon Footprints

For those who still believe that wind derived energy is carbon neutral….. think again!!

One of the largest contributors to carbon emissions is in the production of cement. Cement accounts for some 5% of all carbon emissions

Each turbine base in this proposed site will contain approx 1000 tonnes of cement Add to this the emissions expended by construction traffic, the laying down of hardcore and tarmac to construct the roadways to the sites and the concept of a carbon free exercise starts to change

Consider also the environmental impact caused by the 1000s of additional journeys made by 44 tonne HGVs on roads which are normally subject to 7.5 tonne weight restriction

 

Other onshore applications

You will probably have noticed that in the past year to eighteen months, there have been more and more applications turned down by local district councils and, in some cases, the ensuing Public Enquiries.

Broadland DC turned down an Enertrag application last year for a site in Guestwick, this went to appeal and the decision was upheld by the inspector.

Enertrag had another application at Ellands Farm in Northants turned down by the East Northants DC last year, this again went to Public Enquiry and again the inspector supported the decision of the local DC.

 

On the global front

There will be minimal change to global CO2 emissions until countries such as China and India “come to the party” in terms of reviewing the way they generate electricity. Between them, these two countries account for around 45% of all carbon emissions worldwide with the UK around 2%.

Neither of these countries are likely to change their thinking on power generation until a leading world power can demonstrate that there is a form of alternative energy available to them which will not destroy their economy.

This is the challenge for the UK and other European governments

 

Your opinion matters

One matter of exceptional importance is that of the views of members of the public, especially those living in close proximity to the site. These are given serious consideration (we hope) by the decision makers at local council level.

It is vital that once the planning application has been submitted that you write to both your local parish council and South Norfolk council and let them know your reasons for opposing this forthcoming application.

Noise

Mr Moulton then introduced Jane Davies from Market Deeping.

Noise types

Mrs Davies demonstrated, by way of a recording, the whooshing noise of the wind turbines as heard from her back door, situated ½ mile from the nearby wind farm.  She said that this noise could be heard from approximately ⅓  of the time; for 1/6 of the time a helicopter type sound could be heard; and all the time there was a background hum, similar to a fish tank transformer you on all the time. The grinding noise could also be heard as the turbines changed their direction to head into the wind.  This noise pollution is experienced despite her own property being shielded visually from the wind turbines by trees.  She had been advised that in order to negate the noise pollution her home would need to have acoustic insulation 8m thick. Items such as double glazing actually aid the penetration of low frequency noise rather than block it out.  As a result of this noise pollution she and her family abandoned their home in May of this year.

International recognition

Mrs Davies had not objected to the wind farm being built. She now believed that the development companies rely on people being naïve, gullible and apathetic. Unfortunately, engineers cannot currently predict the noise effect of any particular wind turbine installation. The scale of the problem is demonstrated by the fact that 158 delegates from 25 different countries recently attended the International Wind Turbine Noise Conference.

She said that in France there is a minimum recommended distance between the properties and turbines of 2km, which is far greater than the distance between Hempnall and the proposed turbine site.

Health Issues

Mrs Davies demonstrated with professionally taken sound readings from her property the wide range of sound pressure waves, within and outside the acoustic range. She said that she could actually feel the effect of the low frequency waves in her body, as one can when standing in front of the bass speakers at the concert. Much of the time the sound was non-directional that could be heard in the middle of your head, like when the wearing earphones from an iPod.

The continual effect of ”shaking” the body is thought (although not yet proven) to thicken the muscles etc that hold the body's organs, which after 10 years or so could cause significant health problems.

Mrs Davies said that the low frequency noise affects the body's ability to sleep, learn and concentrate. The examination board have recognised the effect this has had on Mrs Davies daughter.

Lack of regulations

The government regulations relating to noise pollution were drafted in 1997 based on the technology of the time, being much smaller turbines, consequently it is inadequate to deal with today's massive structures. She said that if the noise was equivalent to a shotgun being fired once every six seconds outside her bedroom window it would still not fall foul of the current regulations.  Current regulations also allow the noise pollution to be higher at night than during the day, apparently on the grounds that you should be asleep!

Lack of knowledge / effect on families

Mrs Davies said that the government and the developers openly admit that they have no idea whether noise will be a problem for any particular wind turbine or wind farm but do recognise that it is more likely to be a problem in East Anglia due to the stable air conditions.  So far nationally, 20% of turbines create some noise problem and 5% create a bad noise problem. To date 5 families in the UK have abandoned their homes as a result and given the current proliferation of wind turbines developments she expects this figure to increase significantly.

Flicker

Mrs Davies reported that she had recently visited the family who could not use their living room for 4 hours per day due to the shadow of the blades of the turbines encroaching on their home.

Questions / comments from the floor

At this point Mr Hook explained that the parish council needed to hear the parishioner’s views and hear as many views as possible in the time remaining, so he called a halt to the presentation and thanked Mrs Davies for it. Mr Hook invited questions and comments from parishioners be they for or against the proposed turbines.

 

County Councillor Stella Rice said that she had visited the North Pickenham wind farm on the Enertrag's invitation at which time none of the turbines were working.  She said that she was told they were in fact using electricity in order to try and get started.  She stated that she thought one of the turbines on the Swaffham site produced 75% of the electricity requirement for the locale, why should seven turbines be needed for Hempnall? She speculated that it was more to do with grants and the sale of electricity than benefits for the local people.

 

 

A gentleman (name unknown) stated that Enertrag would need to install a substation between Hempnall and Hapton.

 

 

Mrs Sandra Sigsworth said that the wind farm would be decommissioned in 25 years time, would this mean that the village would have a brown field site with the possibility of further industrial development.

 

Mr William Lincoln responded that that was the case.

 

 

Mr David Clements commented that the body's nervous system not only operated on electrical impulses but current research indicated that it also operated by sound, thus the points made by Mrs Davies were particularly relevant to health issues.

 

He went on to explain that much of electricity that is sold as “green” is actually produced by nuclear power as well as from wind and solar sources. He pointed out that other technologies were available however their development had been stifled by the oil companies for commercial reasons.

 

 

Mr Hook said that parish council would really like to hear from some supporters of the proposed wind turbines; however no response was forthcoming from the floor.

 

 

Mr Clive Britcher stated that he had recently visited North Pickenham and stood at the advantage point used by Enertrag to produce mock-up images. He said that Enertrag's images seemed to be reasonably accurate, however, looking at the pictures in no way prepared him for the “massive in your face” structures he observed when actually physically standing at the advantage point.

 

He went on to ask if they are building seven now, how many more will they want to build later once the landscape had been spoilt?

 

 

Mr Roger Davy said that when this all began he was neutral on the matter. He commended and congratulated SHOWT on their presentation and their leaflet. He was now more concerned about the proposed development and was wavering if what had been said tonight was true. He hoped that Mr Bacon was correct re the untapped potential of tidal power. Mr Davy said that he was terrified about the future and ashamed that his generation had been so greedy that it jeopardised the well-being of future generations.  He had looked on the wind turbine project as an opportunity to help future generations and likened the current greedy consumption  of energy to us being at war with the planet.

 

He too had visited the North Pickenham site and found the turbines to be rather elegant.

 

He expressed great concern over rising sea levels and the fact that people had to be evacuated already from many islands around the world. Concern was also expressed about the potential change in the direction of the Gulf Stream as a result of global warming.

 

Mr Davy hoped that something could be done before it was too late, for the sake of all our children.

 

Mr Hook, having heard the response from the floor to Mr Davy’s comments, said that he felt the whole room shared Mr Davy’s sentiments with regard future generations and the fact that renewable energy must play an important role.

 

 

Mrs Jackie Lee-Smith asked if Enertrag was the only developer that had approached the parish council. Mr Hook responded that it was. She went on to say that she thought it was the company's approach and the scale of the development that seemed to be the main problem was she correct? There were general murmurs from the room that she was not.

 

 

Mr Alan Harper, an electrical engineer, said that it was time to stop “pussyfooting” around, wind turbines do not work. He too wished that his great-grandchildren just had to flick a switch to obtain electricity, but it was it necessary to invest in other technology in order to achieve this. He referred to the Sunday Telegraph which stated that the wind turbine developments were “one big financial scam” which we as taxpayers are being made to pay for.

 

 

Mr Alan Benstead stated that 70% of electricity supplied under the green energy label in fact came from nuclear sources.

 

 

Mrs Jean Croft from Pulham Market said that the Dickleburgh developer, SLP, had also refused to come to any public meetings, that she concluded that Enertrag's non-appearance was par for the industry.

 

Mr David Clements commented that if wind farm developers were not sure if their case was built on firm foundations the last thing they would want to do is come to a public meeting to defend their case.  He went on to ask whether Enertrag had answered any of the issues raised by SHOWT.

 

Mr Lloyd said that he had received a standard letter that seems to have been used for other sites as well.

 

 

Mrs Hilary Battye stated that she had attended the Woodton and other meetings, which despite Enertrag's earlier representations had been conducted in an orderly fashion, and found that Mr Chapelhow could not deal with the questions adequately.

 

 

Mr Windridge indicated that as District Councillor he represented all constituents irrespective of their opinions. He reminded the meeting that of his survey 574 forms (being more than 50% of the voting population of Hempnall) had been returned, 96 of which were in favour of the development and 473 (83%) were against.

 

Mr Windridge stated that ultimately the decision to be taken on the future planning application will not be based on the grounds of strategic matters or global worries; very simply it will be a straightforward application to be considered on the grounds of local issues and the impact on the local community.

 

 

He said that he intended to find out the results from the anemometer erected by Enertrag and reminded the meeting that this had only been erected to satisfy Enertrag's bankers, implying the presence of wind was not a relevant factor from the developer's point of view for the siting of the wind farm.

 

Mr Windridge informed the meeting that once the planning application had been submitted the planning committee would take note of the opinions of local residents and urged all parishioners to write to SNC with copy to the parish council, expressing their views whether they be for or against the application.

 

Mr Hook re-emphasised that the parish council were keen to hear the views of parishioners be they for or against the application.

 

 

A gentleman said that it was his recollection that Enertrag said they would withdraw if more residents were against the proposal than for it. The clerk stated that Enertrag had informed him that they assume that people who do not object in writing do not have concerns with this project.  Mr Hook said that it would be wrong for either side to claim the support of the “silent minority” who have not yet made their views known.

 

 

Show of hands

Mr Hook determined that there were no further questions or comments from floor. As one of the aims of the meeting was for parishioners to make their views known to the parish council, he said that it may be an appropriate time to take a show of hands. Mr Hook asked that only  Hempnall residents take part in this vote.

  • Those in favour of the proposed wind turbines - nobody raised their hand.
  • Those against the proposed wind turbines - substantially all of those present raised their hands.

 

 

Village Hall Ceilidh

Mr Hook, on the request of Yvonne Davy, announced the village hall Ceilidh taking place on 10th November to raise funds for the village hall and encouraged people to attend.

 

 

Thanks

Mr Hook thanked everybody for attending.

 

 

Next Meeting

The next main meeting will be held on Wednesday 21st November 2007 at 7.30pm in The Loft of the Village Hall.

 

 

 

ALL

There being no further business, the meeting was closed at 9.35pm

 

 

 

 

 

Signed _____________________________________________Date 21st November 2007