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Withiel Parish Council has voted to oppose the construction of a second wind turbine on the crossroads just south of the village after a discussion at a packed council meeting in April.
The application, by Mr Firkin of Trevidgeowe, envisages a turbine 47 metres high in a field opposite the Varcoe turbine, which was granted planning permission by the County Council over the objections of the Parish Council and the village.
Only one parish councillor, Eric Harper, voted in support of the Firkin application.
Some 30 people made it standing room only in the committee room in the village hall as the issue was discussed. Parish Council chairman John Piper stood down and left the room during the debate as he has appealed against the refusal of planning permission for his own turbine at Higher Bosneives. Vice Chairman Nick Mather took over.
Before the debate, Patrick Malone made a request for the council to refuse all future applications for wind turbines in the parish until a strategy had been established for their placement. He pointed out that the repowered St Breock Downs wind farm – where five 2mW turbines are planned – would produce as much electricity as 200 of the 50kW turbines proposed for Withiel and elsewhere. It seemed perverse to despoil 200 places when you could achieve the same ends by despoiling one.
Malone said the turbine industry’s statistics were alarmingly questionable. No-one could say how much of the electricity produced by wind turbines was ever used. It was difficult to transmit electricity over distance, particularly in the south west where the 32kV sub-grid was inadequate. If the power never reached a light bulb, it didn’t save any CO2. If the wind was blowing at 4am when there was little demand for power, it was all wasted. Producing electricity which was paid for but never used was akin to growing crops and being paid for them but leaving them to rot in the fields, which farmers would never do. It was merely paying lip service to the idea of combating global warming, at enormous cost to the public. He asked that these concerns be made known to the County Council, our MP and the Department of Energy. A letter setting out these issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Parish Council.
A landowner suggested that those who opposed wind turbines were just jealous, but some people in the room had the chance to profit from turbine subsidies, and had refused because of the detrimental effect on their neighbours and on the county.
Apart from the four turbines applied for in Withiel Parish, six have been applied for in Nanstallon and more in St Breock and the Camel Valley. Across Cornwall there have been 140 applications so far, and many more are in preparation. The effect on the tourist industry could be extremely damaging, and the reduction in quality of life for everyone will last a lifetime.
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