Lower Alt Wind Farm Project

www.h-alt.info/

I have commented on this matter a number of times in the past few months but this posting is to assist those looking to get involved with the campaign group HALT that is fighting against the 24 Blackpool Tower sized wind turbines that are being proposed for the piece of land in West Lancashire that splits the middle of Sefton Borough between Lydiate and Ince Blundell.

Please have a look a HALT’s web site.

Lower Alt Wind Farm – What our local Parish Councils in Sefton are saying

I have posted about this a number of times in recent months but thought the letter below may well be of interest.It has gone to all the 10 Parish/Town Councils in Sefton. It is from the umbrella organisation that all 10 Parish/Town Councils are a part of. Lydiate Parish Council, which I am a member of, has already expressed its concerns as previously detailed on this blog. The proposed site for the wind farm is actually in West Lancashire not Sefton.

17 July 2013

To: Clerks to the Parish Councils of the SAPLC (Sefton Association of Parish and Local Councils)

Dear Sir/Madam

Lower Alt Wind Farm Proposal

At the meeting of the SAPLC last evening 16th July, we were addressed by the Chair of H-ALT, the group set up in Ince Blundell to protest against the proposal of CoriolisEnergy to erect 24 enormous wind turbines close to our village and town communities overlooking the R Alt.

Kevin Sharpe presented information concerning the proposal and how the group had been set up to oppose the development. It directly affects the residents of Lydiate, Sefton, Maghull, Ince Blundell, Little Altcar, Hightown and Formby especially and to a lesser extent to the other parishes.

It was unanimously agreed that, while we do not oppose the concept of turbines that placing of these turbines each as tall as the Blackpool tower, on land, they would have serious and deleterious effect upon the area, our residentsfor generations to come, affecting their health,property values and well being.

The impact upon the land quality from the installation, in their construction and the environmental consequences will be enormous and will decimate the prosperity of a fragile local farming economy, disrupting the unique environment we share.

It was agreed that I should write to you asking you please to raise the matter with your council with the view of enlisting your opposition to the scheme, and inviting you write to the developers saying so.

The contact is Vicky Portwain at Coriolis Energy and the reports are available on their website – www.loweraltwindfarm.co.uk.

Her contact details are as follows

Vicky Portwain
Project manager
Coriolis Energy

info@loweraltwindfarm.co.uk

With thanks,

Yours sincerely

M. COLES
Chairman

Lower Alt Windfarm – A letter from West Lancs Borough Council to Lydiate Parish Council

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I hope those interested will be able to read the above letter. Please click on each page of it to enlarge.

I have published the letter as I thought it may be of interest as this subject is a big issue in some parts of Sefton and indeed West Lancashire. It is in response to concerns raised by Lydiate Parish Council about the proposed wind farm development.

I will publish more postings as things develop.

LOCAL PLANNING AND ONSHORE WIND – ERIC PICKLES LETTER TO COUNCILS

Below is the text of a letter that has been written to Councils by Eric Pickles. This is a big issue in the middle part of Sefton and the part of West Lancashire that wraps around Sefton Borough because of the proposal to build a large number of turbines of a similar height to Blackpool Tower! I have posted on this subject before and met campaigners opposing the Lower Alt Wind Farm proposal last Thursday at the Central Sefton Area Committee. I thought It would be useful to reproduce the whole of the letter on this site.

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I am writing to draw your attention to the written ministerial statement I made on 6 June
2013 on local planning and onshore wind. A copy of the statement is attached. This sets
out my intentions for planning practice guidance on onshore wind and compulsory preapplication
consultation for the more significant onshore wind applications.

As you know, wind farm proposals can be unwelcome to local communities and many are
being hard fought through the planning system. I appreciate the challenge for local
councils in reaching decisions which turn on whether a wind farm’s impact is acceptable in
planning terms when the local community is quite clear that it is not. We need to ensure
decisions do get the environmental balance right in line with the Framework and, as
expected by the Framework, any adverse impact from a wind farm development is
addressed satisfactorily. To address this concern, we intend to issue new planning
practice guidance as part of the work we have underway to take forward the Taylor review.

We have set out clearly in the National Planning Policy Framework the importance of early
and meaningful engagement with local communities. We will also amend secondary
legislation to make pre-application consultation with local communities compulsory for the
more significant onshore wind applications. This will ensure that community engagement
takes place at an earlier stage in more cases and may assist in improving the quality of
proposed onshore wind development. This will also complement the community benefits
proposals announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change today.

I hope these reforms will give a greater say for local people and strengthen the role of
councils in shaping where development should and shouldn’t go.

I have also written to Sir Michael Pitt Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate asking
him to make planning inspectors aware of the statement.

RT HON ERIC PICKLES MP
The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU
7 June 2013

WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT: LOCAL PLANNING AND ONSHORE WIND

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr. Eric Pickles)
The Coalition Agreement pledged to decentralise power to local people and give local
people far more ability to shape the places in which they live.

Through a series of reforms, this Coalition Government is making the planning process
more accessible to local communities, because planning works best when communities
themselves have the opportunity to influence the decisions that affect their lives.
However, current planning decisions on onshore wind are not always reflecting a locallyled
planning system. Much of this stems from planning changes made by the last
Administration, which is why we introduced the National Planning Policy Framework and
abolished the last Government’s top-down Regional Strategies through the Localism Act.

Following a wide range of representations, including the letter of January 2012 to the
Prime Minister from one hundred Hon Members, and in light of the Department of Energy
and Climate Change’s Call for Evidence, it has become clear that action is needed to
deliver the balance expected by the National Planning Policy Framework on onshore wind.
We need to ensure that protecting the local environment is properly considered alongside
the broader issues of protecting the global environment.

Greater community consultation
We have set out clearly in the National Planning Policy Framework the importance of early
and meaningful engagement with local communities. The submissions to the Call for
Evidence have highlighted the benefits of good quality pre-application discussion for
onshore wind development and the improved outcomes it can have for local communities.
We will amend secondary legislation to make pre-application consultation with local
communities compulsory for the more significant onshore wind applications. This will
ensure that community engagement takes place at an earlier stage in more cases and
may assist in improving the quality of proposed onshore wind development.
This will also complement the community benefits proposals announced by the
Department of Energy and Climate Change today.

New planning practice guidance
The National Planning Policy Framework includes strong protections for the natural and
historic environment. Yet, some local communities have genuine concerns that when it
comes to wind farms insufficient weight is being given to environmental considerations like
landscape, heritage and local amenity. We need to ensure decisions do get the
environmental balance right in line with the Framework and, as expected by the
Framework, any adverse impact from a wind farm development is addressed satisfactorily.
We have been equally clear that this means facilitating sustainable development in
suitable locations. Meeting our energy goals should not be used to justify the wrong
development in the wrong location.

We are looking to local councils to include in their Local Plans policies which ensure that
adverse impacts from wind farms developments, including cumulative landscape and
visual impact, are addressed satisfactorily. Where councils have identified areas suitable
for onshore wind, they should not feel they have to give permission for speculative
applications outside those areas when they judge the impact to be unacceptable.
To help ensure planning decisions reflect the balance in the Framework, my Department
will issue new planning practice guidance shortly to assist local councils, and planning
inspectors in their consideration of local plans and individual planning applications. This
will set out clearly that:

the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental
protections and the planning concerns of local communities;

decisions should take into account the cumulative impact of wind turbines and
properly reflect the increasing impact on (a) the landscape and (b) local amenity as
the number of turbines in the area increases;

local topography should be a factor in assessing whether wind turbines have a
damaging impact on the landscape (i.e. recognise that the impact on predominantly
flat landscapes can be as great or greater than as on hilly or mountainous ones);
and

great care should be taken to ensure heritage assets are conserved in a manner
appropriate to their significance, including the impact of proposals on views
important to their setting.

I am writing to Sir Michael Pitt, Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate to ask him to
draw this statement to the attention of planning inspectors in their current and future
appeals. I will inform colleagues in local government to assist them in their forthcoming
decision-making.

What a carry on – The new Sefton Central Area (Farce) Committee met in Maghull last night

Well I said from day one that it would be more like a conference than what a truly local Area Committee should be and so it proved. Just look at how many people there were in that large room and they are not all on the photo!

rsz_area_farce_committee_06_06_13

Formby residents had to go all the way to Maghull to raise concerns about traffic regulation orders in their own patch which previously were dealt with in Formby.

A Crosby traffic issue was dealt with in Maghull instead of in Crosby ….. I could go on but you get my drift!

The meeting started off with many public questions about very local matters in Formby and Aintree, wind farm issues in Ince Blundell and green belt concerns just about everywhere. The worrying point was that virtually no questions got answers despite them being submitted in some cases many weeks ago. One chap said he had submitted a question to the new Area Committee 8 weeks ago but still no one was able to answer his adult care provision concerns. What’s more he is a well known senior Labour Party activist! If he can’t get the Labour Council to take note of his concerns what chance the rest of us?

Prior to the meeting there was a large lobby/protest outside the meeting venue (Maghull Town Hall) by folks wanting to stop Sefton Council allowing building on the Green Belt. What interested me was that apart from us Lib Dems no one seemed to want to engage with them at all. Here is a photo of the green belt protestors.

rsz_green_belt_protestors_outside_maghull_th_06_06_13

I posted yesterday about the Labour members who are promoting the plan to build on the Green Belt not answering detailed questions about their Council’s plan in the public question time session of the Area (Farce) Committee but later on I was taken aback at the response a chap from Crosby got from Labour. He had come out to Maghull to quite reasonably ask that the councillors from the 4 Crosby Wards dip into their ward funds to help finance his campaign group who are trying to save Collage Road Library from Labour’s axe. He got a positive from Andrew Tonkiss a Lib Dem member of Victoria Ward but he got short shrift from a Labour member for Manor ward who seemed most put out that the chap had not contacted him personally before turning up at the Area (Farce) Committee to ask for financial support. In the end Labour, who have a large majority on the Area (Farce) Committee, wanted to take it away and give it a mull over. Wow, that is really backing a community initiative! By the way it was during that discussion that Labour members made the suggestion that money from a £1m slush fund be made available to library campaign groups when they, yes they, had all voted not to make such funds available at the recent budget meeting!

Did local democracy get a boost from that farcical Area Committee meeting last night – a resounding NO! Were Labour able to prove that the merging of the 3 former Area Committees (Formby, Crosby & Sefton East Parishes) into one huge Area Committee for everywhere outside of Bootle and Southport was a step forward – a resounding NO!

Lower Alt Wind farm – Lydiate Parish Council submits its concerns to both West Lancs and Sefton Borough Councils

Lydiate Parish Council last night passed the following resolution in response to the Planning application that has recently caused a wave of concerns from local residents across the central area of Sefton.

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Lydiate Parish Council, having taken account of local concerns and the recent public exhibition held in the Parish wish to raise the following concerns and objections to the plan that is presently before West Lancs Borough Council.

* We have significant ecological concerns regarding the location of the proposed development. They relate to negative potential impacts on bird species and designated breading sites within Sefton and within West Lancashire.

* In our view the plans do not consider the effects of the proposals on the agricultural land. There is a high proportion of ‘Best and Most Versatile’ agricultural land in the area and its potential loss is a significant concern.

* The area in which the development is proposed is low lying and thinly populated. The landscape has wide open views. The local character of the landscape will be hugely and negatively impacted on by this proposal.

* Noise generated by the proposed development is a significant concern.

* Shadow Flicker – again a significant concern of Lydiate residents.