A Landmark Wind Turbine Bill

A landmark wind turbine bill has just about to go into committee stage in the House of Lords.

The bill  ( See Here ) is intended to ensure a sensible distance (or set-back) is enforced to separate houses and wind turbines.

These are the distances in the Bill

If the height of the wind turbine generator is—

greater than 25m, but does not exceed 50m,     - 1000m;
greater than 50m, but does not exceed 100m,   - 1500m;
greater than 100m, but does not exceed 150m, - 2000m;
greater than 150m,                                            - 3000m.

This is an very important bill. Even if it is the bloody House of Lords.

Furthermore this is going to get alot of people asking why this has not already been done. Especially when we have all clearly seen the distress these unprincipled carpet-bagging turbine developers have caused to people forced to live next to their monstrosities.

Questions are going to be asked as to why some councils ever approved the travesty of set backs of sometimes less than 300m.

It should now give councils everywhere pause for thought before approving the siting of these useless monsters close to peoples homes.

One would hope that this will give some legal redress to those folk who have been forced out of their homes by the inappropriate placing of turbines.

Do I hear blood curdling howls of joy from the no-win no-fee legal shyster's? Do I hear them revving their engines in a dash to file compensation claims?

This time Billothewisp won't be complaining too much.


Unknown said...

How much pressure were local authorities put under to take so little notice of the needs of people I wonder.

Anonymous said...

Don't really see the point in this Bill, I appreciate old turbines were noisy and problematic but not now.
A couple of months ago, whilst on holiday in Germany, I stood under a newly built 100m Enercon wind turbine and it was really quiet. There was a good breeze, it was steadily spinning and very little noise, I could hardly hear it at 20 meters!

BilloTheWisp said...

Unfortunately there are many victims, medics and agencies who would disagree with you. Like the UK Noise Association, Dr Chris Hanning and others (see post Vestas V90 Safety Instructions)

If a single turbine reliably returned say 100MW there may be a case, but usually the yearly average output for one (laughingly rated at 2.5MW) is between 0.5MW and 0.7MW - or less, and intermittently generated at that.

The return on the damage done to people and the countryside is simply not worth it.

By the way, in the above V90 post you will find that Vestas suggest their operatives should stay 400m away unless necessary. Pity these things have been built 300m from peoples homes. If you were 20m from it you were certainly in what should have been an exclusion area.
p.s. why be anonymous?

Anonymous said...

As previously stated, I understand older turbines can be noisy and problematic, I'm sure there are victims and Dr.s who would rightly argue this. My point is that manufacturers are producing much quieter ones nowadays, in response to the need to incorporate them into less remote areas and to increase efficiency (noise being a loss of energy). So new deployments should not be hindered by comparisons to older technology and indeed repowering of old wind farms should be welcomed.

300m from a home does sound unreasonable but as I do not know of such a situation, I cannot really comment, was it a big turbine or domestic scale?

Talking in MW can be a bit confusing, I prefer to use KWh's as this is a familiar domestic unit of electricity.
So a 2.5MW turbine would, once the average 25% of time that it's not generating is taken into account, turn out an average yearly output of over 5 million domestic units(KWhs).

I agree that's not very much compared to a conventional power station but it should be remembered that a coal fired power station, for example, wastes about half it's energy as heat up the cooling towers and wields a capacity factor of less than 45%.
Someone has to live next to these power stations and they are far more dominating than a wind farm. Is it fair for people to suffer these negative effects so that power can be transferred to the privileged folk who fight against generation in their own backyard?

If you are talking about species loss, biodiversity and food production, then a conventional power station is doing far more damage to the countryside than all the wind farms put together.

And no, a wind turbine doesn't have an exclusion area around it, unlike a conventional power station surrounded by fences and razor wire, you can walk right up to and touch a wind turbine, quite safely!

ps. Why Billothewisp?

BilloTheWisp said...

The main UK noise regulations for turbines date back 15 years (ETSU-R97). They relate to a time when turbines were 1/3 the size they are now and were also effectively drawn up by the wind turbine industry.

So while MW/hr for MW/hr new turbines may be quieter, their size means that problems due to (example) wind sheer where the top blade ends up being driven harder than the bottom blade make noise, as well as a host of other issues much more problematic.

An example of "too close" would be the proposed (i.e. not even built yet!) East Stoke turbine complex in Dorset. Here turbines would be 350m from houses 275m from a scout camp and 800 m from a home for people with severe autism.

How outrageous is that?

Luckily that scheme hit the planning buffers but they going to appeal.

Each turbine would be taller than Salisbury cathedral. That 2.5MW rating actually produces (if they are lucky) 22% of that per year that's 2500000 x 0.22 x 8760 = 4800MW/hr)

You are right that that is is piddling compared to just about any other generation scheme, plus it is intermittent, unreliable and highly expensive.

I would completely agree with you about Coal, it is yesterdays technology. But that does not make wind any more capable.

By the way while I oppose wind because I think it is non-viable, I would not get so bitter and twisted about it if the things were built well away for peoples homes (i.e. 2Km).

If this were the case almost all of the opposition the Wind Turbines would evaporate. The developers are effectively shooting themselves in the foot by being so greedy and high handed.
p.s I don't know which anonymous you are.... can you use a pseudonym??
Why Billothewisp? Simply a metaphor.

BilloTheWisp said...

Sorry about the delay in replying. You make a very valid point. Actually local council have been put under intolerable pressure (especially in the NE Wales and Scotland). I understand Camarthen council made the set-back distance 1500m but now this may well be overruled by the Welsh Assembly. After all its only PEOPLE who are getting in the way by living there.

Lulworth Lad said...

sorry but I do have to pull you up on a few points, I'm not picking on you, just hate to see inaccuracies bandied about as facts, which is so often the case with wind farms.

1. the nearest residential property to the proposed East Stoke wind farm is over 600m.
2. the care home is 900m away, and partially sheltered from the turbines by geography and tree cover, (it is also to the south so no concerns about shadow flicker).
3. why pick a capacity factor of 22%? Looks a bit cherry-picked to me, ie. the average for the UK's least windiest year in the last five.
Take the average for the windiest year and you're looking at 29%.
It is of course site specific, the developers told me it would be 27% but why should we take their word for it? I'm happy to settle for 25% and therefore over 5 million domestic units as stated before.
Indeed, at 22% they probably would not be viable as income is entirely dependent of the generation of power.

Your first comment about noise is also inconsistent with my experiences, yes turbines are getting bigger, yes they are producing more electricity and yes they are much quieter than older, smaller ones. It's called technological development, I'm not comparing MW or size, they are simply quieter!

I agree 2km would be ideal, but such sites have already been taken or run into opposition from landscape groups who don't want the views spoiled.

We have a requirement to reduce our emissions by 80% by 2050.
A lot of those saving will be made building better homes and more efficient factories for example but there is also an obligation each and every one of us has to think differently about resources and what we take for granted.
Rather than saying, "oh someone else can put up with the damage and harm my electricity consumption is causing, I'm paying far too much for it anyway", we should be looking at the local wind farm and saying, "for my conscience to be clear, I need to be reducing my consumption down in line with our collective renewable power generation."

Is that realistic? Well Germany (with less wind resource than us) is heading towards 20% renewable power, and Denmark having reached that is now setting itself even more ambitious targets. The balancing of wind, sun, tide and pumped storage is a challenge, but a technical one that engineers are already proving can be met.

Humans have had a wonderful time burning up the energy the sun spent millions of years putting into the ground. Well I should qualify that by saying some humans, remembering that we in the global north are in the minority.

But that's obviously got to change.
Even if the choices are black and white, many people don't want change.
They will work all hours to ensure their sprogs get the best education and start in life but bury their heads in the sand when challenged if there will be enough food or power for them in 20 years time.

You can argue for nuclear power, but I'm not convinced.
I have doubts that it's sustainable because of the amount of power required to produce the fuel and the availability of usable-grade ore. The timescale means new power stations could well arrive too late.
And lastly, it's maintaining the old way of thinking, "I can pay for it therefore I can use as much as I like", which will not help us change the way we regard the World.

Sorry for the sermon.

BilloTheWisp said...

Lulworth Lad,
You know that the permanent scout camp is 275m from the turbines. If you look at my Post "Vestas V90 Safety Instructions" you will find that Vestas consider that even the technicians should stay 400m away unless necessary. Download their document and read it yourself.

The long term residential care home for people with severe autistic spectrum disorder is I reckon using Google maps 834m from the nearest turbine.

Whatever the distance though, are you so seriously infatuated with these useless white elephants that you would allow one to be built within 2Km of vulnerable people? You know (or should do) that previous industrial wind turbines proposals elsewhere have correctly been turned down when there has been only one or two potential victims. Here there are dozens. Medics (Hanning, Pierpont, Stebbins, Harry, French BMA, UKNA among others) have spoken out against these things and that is good enough for me. (and should be for you).

Why pick 22%? Because that is what they output last year. It is an accurate figure. Unlike the BWEA who still regularly peddle 30% which has never been achieved. Settling on 25% is not good enough. The yearly variablity is a major problem in itself. You state that the max was 29% so that gives a variation of (29 -22)/22 = 31%. That variation is already on a dismally low figure. Not only are things unreliable on a hourly basis they are hopelessly unreliable on a yearly basis too.

How about a few more unimpeachably accurate figures (John Muir Trust analysis - NETA data):
below 20% of capacity more than half the time.
below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.
below 2.5% capacity for the equivalent of one day in twelve.
below 1.25% capacity for the equivalent of just under one day a month.

Thinking differently should not involve wishful thinking. Especially when it directly affects other peoples lives. People must come before industrial development especially when it is as useless as wind generation. In fact I would argue that you were very far from thinking differently at all but were stuck in a rut dictated by a failed technology.

Barnie said...

Hi - I am a first time blogger and could do with some help. We have recently been advised that a power company has applied fro planning permission to put up a 100Kw turbine measuring 47.5m on our neighbours land. Having checked the plans we have discovered that the position for the structure is less than 300m from our house. We are concerned about potential noise/vibration nuisance. How can we establish the risks and likely effects on our house and it's occupants? Any tips on making objections before any planning permission is granted?
Thankyou Barnie

BilloTheWisp said...

Hi Barny,

Sorry to hear about your problem.

Personally, in your position I would try and contact the folk at "Country Guardian" (see "great sites" at top of page.) Also your local CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England - main site also at top of page) who can give advice and always welcome new members.

Also immediately have a word with your planning department. Find out when/where/how the application has or will be presented.

You must object to it otherwise you will be regarded as compliant.

The distance appears far too small and I would suspect that they would have trouble with even meeting the current (poor) noise standard ETSU-R97, which was drawn up at a time when all turbines were this sort of size.

Also you need to contact anyone else who will be affected. They may well be totally oblivious of even the planning application. There is strength in numbers.

But try and get your neighbour to see sense as well. Even if it is to move them further away.

I suppose much depends on the attitude of your windmill aspirational neighbour too. Many people who get involved with these things do not really understand the issues. The green-wash is everywhere.

It may be worth enlightening them. They may have a change of heart, although there is so much money slopping about (your money) as subsidies they may well continue looking at the things through rose tinted glasses.

Good luck.

BilloTheWisp said...


To be clear- you MUST Object before planning approval is given.

There is a cut off date.

You must object in writing before that date. After the event is too late.

Also contact you local councillors and anyone else who may support you/give pointers on planning.