PGS: Wind turbines
With the increased drive towards renewable energy, PFOs are likely to have to deal with a growth in applications for wind-energy installations. This PGS has been produced to guide PFOs on what factors to consider in their Society response. PFOs should also familiarise themselves with PPS22 on renewable energy.
Applications for single or multiple [bold starts]large[bold ends] turbines to serve the national grid (so-called "wind farms") are likely to be rare, and PPS22 makes it clear that they are very likely to be inappropriate in designated landscape areas such as an AONB. Accordingly Society policy is to oppose such applications located within or clearly visible from the AONB. Single or multiple large turbines outside of and not clearly visible from the AONB, should be considered on a case-by-case basis as described below.
Much more likely are small-scale proposals to provide power for the applicant's own use, a group of buildings, or exceptionally a small community. These should be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account the following.
The Society's remit is limited to considering the aesthetic impact of wind turbines on the character of the Chilterns and its settlements. For small turbines, noise impacts are believed to be insignificant, so the main consideration is visual impact. Relevant factors include:
- size of installation (height and blade diameter)
- other aspects of design (e.g., fan-blades versus propellers, any modifications which contribute to character)
- location in relation to topography
- any associated infrastructure (e.g. access tracks, equipment cabins)
- degree of concealment in short and long-distance views
- presence of other structures nearby
- general openness of landscape
Detailed modifications to a proposal can significantly affect the degree of impact, and in some cases make an otherwise unacceptable proposal acceptable. PFOs should therefore pay close attention to these issues.
It is outside the remit of the Society to oppose installations solely because of any doubts about the value in general of renewable energy in reducing emissions. However there may be situations where it is legitimate to include greater efficiency as a supporting factor in suggesting a preferred alternative siting or design, e.g. a single larger turbine rather than a series of smaller ones.
Approved – Coordinator's meeting 11 May 2011