Monday, 10 January 2011


As we amble along towards the special meeting of the Development Control Committtee later this month, inevitably the nookies of VVASP are whipping up hatred and hysteria. You'd hope that recent developments in the United States, which seem to link hate-fuelled political propaganda with the shooting of politicians and nine-year old children, might have forced a rethink in such immoral activities. But no. VVASP continues to do what it has always done: spread fear and loathing by withholding useful information and peddling ludicrous myths.

Currently, VVASP would appear to be concentrating on two areas of concern. Noise, it would seem, is rather off the agenda (it was recently discovered that VVASP had been telling the inhabitants of a travellers' site at the bottom of Hipton Hill that the noise from the turbines would be "deafening"!), probably because it's a bit of a non-starter.

No, the two issues VVASP are exploiting to whip up the mob are house prices and shadow flicker.

House prices, first. It's perhaps a measure of the need some people feel for conformity that certain Lenchians are still prepared to believe that the windfarm will drive the value of their property down. This mad claim was one of those which the ASA rubbished, pointing out that VVASP had no evidence to support it and that they had selectively misquoted a report which in fact concluded that there is no clear correlation between windfarms and house prices.

Furthermore, the briefing document which appeared in the House of Commons Library a short while ago examines a variety of studies and concludes that, while there is no evidence at all of windfarms having a negative effect on house prices, there is some evidence which suggest that property values rise faster in proximity to a working windfarm.

So not only are VVASP spreading fear about something that is categorically not true - they're deliberately misleading their neighbours over the potential positive impact of the windfarm on their house prices!!!

Next, shadow flicker. It's clear that hardly anybody in the area knows what this is. Shadow flicker is a rare and unusual phenomenon and its effects can be mitigated. Windfarm developers know what causes it (and it only happens within a short range of turbines, under certain conditions, and in rooms which windows of a particular size), which means that they have been able to take steps to avoid it.

In short, shadow flicker isn't really an issue.

But what the nimbies keep going on about (if only they knew it) is something else altogether - shadow casting. Again, only something that happens within a defined area, and not something which has ever been proven to cause problems. Indeed, a progamme shown on BBC4 last night, about the Normans, had the presenter talking to camera as he walked through a windfarm in Normandy in a bright and breezy day. The "noise" of the windfarm was pretty much non-existent (which is why he was able to talk to the camera throughout), and the sweeping shadows of the blades were confined to a pretty narrow radius.

Of course, if you can point out that shadow flicker has, in the past, proven to be a nuisance, and you can then confuse people over what shadow flicker is (pretending, for example, that it's the same as shadow casting), then you can whip up yet more madness for your own devious ends.

But there's something that VVASP almost certainly haven't told anybody. In November 2008 (at the very time that VVASP was setting itself up specifically to fight ScottishPower Renewables, and less specifically to fight anybody who did not agree with them), Worcestershire County Council published its final report on renewables.

Independent consultants had identified a range of sites in Worcestershire which would be ideally suited for windfarm developments.

Church Lench, it was determined, was well-placed to support a windfarm of six large turbines (one more than is actually proposed) and there were no clear grounds for opposing them.

Bishampton and Throckmorton (just down the road) could support six large turbines and four large turbines respectively. Only in the case of Throckmorton airfield was it deemed relevant to note that there are properties nearby.

Overall, some twenty-five sites throughout Worcestershire were identified as being essentially windfarm-friendly. The three mentioned above were in the first category of sites "which present few substantial barriers to development".

You can read the full report here:

So, while VVASP continue to promote the fiction that they are poor downtrodden villagers being unfairly menaced by a major energy concern, the reality is that their county council had already spotted that Church Lench and several surrounding areas were just right for wind energy developments.

What next? Will VVASP start spreading the rumour that Worcestershire County Councillors have been taking backhanders as well?

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