Wind farm case in TV documentary

"Jane and Julian Davis are to appear in the four-part documentary Windfarm Wars"

Published on Thursday 12 May 2011 10:00


ONE family’s fight against the effects of wind turbines near to their home in Deeping St Nicholas is to feature in a television documentary.

Jane and Julian Davis are to appear in the four-part documentary Windfarm Wars, which starts tomorrow on BBC2.

The couple claim their family suffered severe sleep deprivation and were forced to move to rented accomodation in Spalding as a result of the noise generated by the turbines.

Their home on North Drove Bank is just 930 metres from eight 100-metre high turbines, which went “live” in 2006.

This summer, they will take their case to the High Court in what is thought to be one of the first private nuisance cases brought against a wind farm.

In Windfarm Wars, the Davis family are expecting to appear in episodes two and four. The show starts at 7pm.


Anyone who missed the first episode of Wind Farm wars can watch on BBC i-Player at:

You will find an initial review at:



BBC2, 7pm, Friday 13th May All Regions except:

BBC2, 9pm, Friday 13th May Northern Ireland

BBC2, 5:15pm Saturday 14th May Scotland


In 2005 BBC TWO commissioned Sevenstones Media to produce Windfarm Wars, then a single observational documentary following the building of a windfarm, a story that was to become one of the UK’s most divisive issues. Six years later, following the unravelling of this dramatic story, Windfarm Wars has finally become a remarkable four-part series with unprecedented access to all parties.

Filmed in Devon over this six-year period, Windfarm Wars reveals what happens to a community when a wind farm of nine 120-metre high turbines is planned to be built in an undesignated yet sensitive landscape just four and a half miles from the northern edge of Dartmoor National Park. From planning and protest, to propaganda and polemic, through two Public Inquiries and three High Court challenges, Windfarm Wars tells the story of those people most deeply affected by events.

There’s the farmer, Martin Tucker, who’s keen to have turbines on his land, as a result of which his family’s financial future would be permanently secured. But his cousin becomes one of his most vociferous opponents. There’s the passionate and frustrated wind farm developer Rachel Ruffle a woman dedicated to her mission of bringing renewable energy to Devon . There’s the local action group who argue the turbines will have a detrimental visual impact and are ineffective, and who campaign to upset Rachel’s plans. There’s also, Mike Hulme, a local resident whose green conscience is torn. He wants to combat climate change but his home is close to the turbines and he believes his personal and financial wellbeing, and the tranquillity and peace of the countryside will be threatened if the windfarm goes ahead. As he becomes increasingly disillusioned with RES’s actions, and following 2 Public Inquiries, Mike Hulme takes his fight against the Government Inspector’s decisions all the way to the High Court. Rachel Ruffle is equally determined to resist these challenges and see through the battle for her company’s windfarm to be built. This documentary series charts the human drama and conflict as a community reacts to the dilemma of how best to respond to climate change and the impact of a windfarm on their doorsteps.

It’s a story that sets a precedent too. When it started, the internationally successful windfarm company involved, RES (Renewable Energy Systems) customarily refused to release the raw data of their wind and noise recordings except to a qualified expert. As a result of Mike Hulme’s campaign, releasing raw data into the public domain is now a more established procedure. His battle involves criticism of the inadequacy of the government’s guidelines controlling windfarm noise, as well as concerns about the level of noise he may experience, including a phenomenon known as AM or amplitude modulation.

Against a backdrop of the pressures of climate change and the complexities of charge and counter-charge, Windfarm Wars looks beyond the taunts of nimbyism and charts the democratic safeguards and processes by which such major projects are decided. In the end this series is about one man’s search for ‘truth’ in the controversial and confusing world of onshore windfarm development, and one woman’s crusade to build her company’s windfarm, the windfarm she believes the community, and the world, desperately need.

Series Poducer: Jeremy Gibson

Executive Producer: Adam Alexander

A Sevenstones Media production for BBC TWO




Interesting article in the Sunday Times

15th May 2011


Frieda Hughes, daughter of the late poet laureate, has written about her experiences of wind farms in Wales. She gives a very good report of the impact of the turbines and the TAN 8 project.

To read the article click here.


Postcodes of objectors / supporters


Recently the CE of PFR has been making statements creating something of a false impression of the locality and volume of support for the windfarm application. Support for the proposal was largely from those outwith the affected area. The letters of objection greatly outweighed those in support even though the number in support includes a large number of template letters from people living in other areas. These only required a signature, no intimiate knowledge of the proposal, and were largely from London.

The chart below shows a breakdown of the postcodes of objectors vs supporters. Don't be confused by the number of postcodes for supporters vs those of objectors. Objection letters received from different addresses in the same postcode are respresented by only a single blue pin.




More windfarm press coverage


There is increasing awareness that the benefits of windfarms are questionable and that subsidies are encouraging inappropriate applications for wind turbines.


Click on the following links for more examples...






Yorkshire Post  Friday 22 April 2011
Ministers urged to spell out cost of onshore wind farm subsidies

THE Government is being urged to spell out the massive subsidies which consumers are paying to finance onshore wind farms amid growing scepticism over the technology.
Developers are pushing ahead with plans for dozens of multi-million-pound developments which could see hundreds of turbines built across the Yorkshire region.
However, there is a growing wave of opposition to onshore wind farms as questions have been raised whether they present a viable source of renewable energy.
Demands placed on energy companies to invest more than £1bn every year in renewable technologies has seen costs placed on to consumers with increases in electricity bills.
MP Anne McIntosh is now writing to Energy Minister Charles Hendry calling on him to spell out to consumers the millions of pounds in subsidies which are being used to help finance renewable energies such as wind farms.
Miss McIntosh, the Tory MP for Thirsk and Malton, said other nations which have relied heavily on wind power, such as Denmark, are now beginning to question the validity of the technology.
She has met with campaigners opposed to a proposed wind farm on the Yorkshire coast which could see up to 14 turbines, each 475ft tall, built on agricultural land at Hunmanby, near Filey.
A planning application has also been submitted for a separate development in her constituency which could see 10 turbines built at East Heslerton, near Malton.
Miss McIntosh said: “I am concerned about onshore wind farms for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest issues is the amount of subsidies which are being paid.
“We are coming later to the game than other countries such as Denmark, but the Government needs to spell out to people just how much money is being used to subsidise these wind farm developments.
“I do not think the case has been made for them as a source of renewable energy.” Miss McIntosh claimed other sources of energy, including nuclear plants, need to be considered, although she admitted there were still major issues over the disposal of nuclear waste.
Her Parliamentary colleague, the Tory MP for Selby and Ainsty, Nigel Adams, has also raised serious questions over on-shore turbines as they only work when the wind blows.
He has claimed the amount of power generated is not worth the impact on the surrounding communities and environment.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last week that he had launched a scathing attack against on-shore wind farms, branding them the “chocolate fireguard” of renewable energy.
But industry representatives maintained turbines represent a vital source of renewable energy, with major economic benefits.
The professional body for the wind and marine renewables industries, RenewableUK, was formed in 1978.
Figures from RenewableUK have shown the number of planning applications for developments have escalated dramatically in recent years.
There were 27 submissions for on-shore wind farms in England in 2004, and the figure had risen to 64 last year.
A spokesman stressed there are no direct subsidies from the Government, and added: “The current system is the fairest way to ensure we meet our renewable energy targets.”
Research has revealed about £1m from each megawatt installed stays at a local and regional level during the wind farm’s lifetime.
In a speech in February, Mr Hendry admitted wind farms do not present “the whole solution”, but claimed turbines should form a key part of the nation’s renewable energy strategy.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed subsidies are being analysed to assess how much each renewable technology will receive between 2013 and 2017.



Rushy Mead in an article in the Telegraph


Interesting article in the Telegraph this week herewhich refers to the Rushy Mead proposal extensively. There are some interesting quotes from the RenewablesUK spokesperson, all of which have been refuted by Professor Michael Jefferson (Economist and expert in Sustainability) in a letter to the Telegraph. The contents of this letter are reproduced below.


Dear Sir,


    Your report 'March of the giant wind turbines' (December 5) ends by quoting an extraordinary claim that those who seek to block such developments "are actually preventing the flow of thousands of pounds of investment in their local communities."

    In fact the outflow per average household supplied by such developments inland would exceed £225 per year in one subsidy (Renewable Obligation Certificates) alone. For the 25-year projected lifetime of such schemes that means people objecting to such developments are actually preventing an investment outflow of over £5,600 per average household. For offshore developments the figures are double that.

    This reality is before taking account of the negative impacts on house prices, potential sleep and health upsets for their residents, visual intrusion, and problems arising from wind speed variability. The truth, therefore, is precisely the opposite of that claimed by the spokeswoman quoted.


Yours faithfully,

     (Professor) Michael Jefferson



Hayes MacKenzie Partnership Ltd, Acoustic Engineers visit Arborfield


On a recent visit to Arborfield Parish Council Accoustic Engineers Hayes MacKenzie, who are employed by PfR, it was explained that the Noise Report for the Rushy Mead wind farm shows that there will be times when nearby residents will definitely hear the turbines operating.

Government Guidelines ETSU-R-97, which are much criticised for giving neighbours of wind farms little protection from the low frequency noise emitted by turbines, will not prevent residents suffering that infamous irritating turbine ‘swish’.  We will hear the noise it was said,  however it will be within the guidelines. Cold comfort indeed.

When asked why only one location was chosen for sound testing north of the M4 in Lower Earley when the majority of homes are located in this area, it was said that the company chose representative locations surrounding the site. Andy MacKenzie said that the noise from the turbines will not necessarily be masked by the M4 motorway. He also confirmed that increasing the planned length of the blades, which happened between the initial Scoping Opinion and the Planning Application, means increased noise levels will result.

It is clear that details of the Noise Report showed the wide variations in background noise levels which already exist in the area, sometimes noise from the M4 dominates, but other times are quiet.  If the turbines are built there will be fewer quiet times, for example, during the summer holidays or on bank holidays when traffic levels on the motorway tend to reduce.  Now when you enjoy quiet time relaxing on your patio with friends and family late into the evening, you can expect that the turbine swish may intrude. 

Open your bedroom window a notch or two on warm summer nights and you will risk exposure to low frequency noise; this has been shown to disturb sleep patterns and in the long term therefore, affect health.  Low frequency noise travels further than other sound waves and has been shown to cause high blood pressure amongst other serious problems.

Please see our Healthsection for more details.



Deadline for comments extended to the end of December 2010


The original deadline of 30th November 2010 has been extended to the end of December. It is important that you add your objections to those already submitted as the number of objections can be taken in to account as an indication of local feelings. Failure to do so may be taken to imply a lack of concern or opinion. Complaining after the turbines are erected will be too late!


The official application, and instructions on how to lodge a comment, can be found here.



Updated press release from HARM dated 17th November 2010


Click here to read our latest press release and where you can see our photo-montages showing the effects that the turbines, if built, would have on the local landscape.



Planning application now submitted


The planning application for 4 turbines and yet another wind monitoring mast has now been submitted. The official application, and instructions on how to lodge a comment, can be found here. You have until 30th November this year to make any comments.


The main document to focus on is the 420 page environmental assesment document which details the enormous imact on the landscape, risks to wildlife, noise assesments, and details of how many of us will suffer from the flicker affects of the bladers being between us and the sun.



If you would like to visit your local council to express concerns about the wind farm application listed below are contact details of the various parish/town clerks who can confirm meeting dates, or you can check the parish/tc websites.      tel; 0118 976 1489               tel; 0118 978 0244  tel; 0118 986 8995       tel; 0118 988 8220
Meetings in Arborfield are in
    The Pavilion, Arborfield Park (Planning=2nd Nov. Full=16th Nov) all at 7.30
    Winnersh, John Grobler Room, Community Centre, New Road(Full=9th Nov) at 7.45
    Earley, Council Offices, Radstock House, Radstock Lane(Planning= 9th Nov) at 7.30
    Shinfield, Shinfield Parish Hall, School Green(Full=15th Nov) at 7.30
And Wokingham Meetings are;
    WBC Planning Committee Meet - 10th Nov 7pm  at Shute End, Wokingham
    WBC Executive Committee Meets -25th Nov 8pm at Shute End, Wokingham
(the public are entitled to ask a question at these two Exec meetings if submitted a week ahead, and also a supplementary question, not previously submitted) 
NB These details may be subject to change, and we print them to the best of our ability, so please double check with your Clerk if you are unsure.





A Cool Look at Wind's prententions


Professor Michael Jefferson.

16th September, Bearwood college theatre, Sindlesham


This was the title of a talk given to concerned residents recently at Bearwood College Theatre to inform views on the subject of wind energy in general, and the proposed Rushy Mead site A Cool Look at Wind's prententions


Professor Michael Jefferson.

16th September, Bearwood college theatre, Sindlesham


This was the title of a talk given to concerned residents recently at Bearwood College Theatre to inform views on the subject of wind energy in general, and the proposed Rushy Mead site in particular.  The evening was hosted with great dignity by Dr Izabella Bossowska, and she introduced the Professor to the audience with a description of his many achievements in Industry (Senior Economist for Shell), Academia (Professor at the Centre for International Business and Sustainability) and the Literary World (author or co-author on topics such as energy, economics and the environment).  Professor Jefferson was recently quoted in the national press saying ‘incentives designed to help Britain meet green energy targets are encouraging firms to site their developments badly’.  The question posed by Dr Bossowska was;

‘is Rushy Mead sited badly’?

The very clear answer is ‘yes’ – using wind speed data now available, and looking at the poor figures for electricity generation attained by the nearby Green Park turbine, the proposed wind farm at Rushy Mead will benefit from a massive subsidy in the form of Green Obligation Certificates which he believes is economically unjustified, and diverts funds from more worthy sites.  This subsidy on each turbine will cost each household £50, so with 4 turbines this will amount to £200 (the cost to you and me at last ROC auction).  He feels that the subsidy should be focussed on high wind speed areas, such as on the coast and in Scotland where wind speeds are significantly higher and more dependable.  He is very much in favour of wind energy, but feels that central England should be declared a ‘turbine free zone’ to prevent the many well known problems caused to residents (noise/loss of amenity) by inappropriately sited wind developments in areas of high population (3,695 per Km  in the Reading area compared to just 65 per km in Scotland)

Professor Jefferson's slides can be found here.



TV coverage


A video of the TV coverager for the Harm's way event and previous coverage can now be found here.




British Horse Society views


The public statements from the British Horse Society concerning the safety of bridleway and byway users sited near to wind farms have been added to the 'Safety' page on this web site. They recommend a separation distance of at least 3 times the height of the turbines. they also have very specific recommendations on the safety requirements during construction.




PfR consultations - 20th/21st July


Several of our supporters attended the PfR consultation exhnibitions in Earley and Arborfield. The report below was from one of those atendees.


"PfR’s presentation was most disappointing to those of us who’ve taken the trouble to visit them on their open days as there was little information which was new; concerns about proximity to homes, noise, the by-ways and equestrian businesses persist. Few of the pictures on show were from residential perspectives, and as one of the nearest householders I was looking forward to seeing a visualisation from our lane which indeed I had requested sometime ago. We were only offered a ‘google earth’ view which we were told uses a camera sited quite high. The height recommended is 1.5mtrs or distortion can occur.

The junction of Church Lane and Mole Road was another location PfR had previously said to me personally that they were intending to use; this would have been a good vantage point of the site and is a residential area. But for some reason this viewpoint was not used. Instead there was a view from the roundabout in the village with a tree obscuring the view. Foreground objects are something guidance states should be avoided. I imagine PfR are aware of this and they must also be aware that the quality of their wind farm visuals was not of a suitable standard for planning purposes. My concern and understanding is that photomontages can give a false impression of the site, and I will explain why.

Single frame shots are better, as panoramic shots need to be viewed in a particular way and the public are often unaware of this. They need to be curved around your head at a specific angle which should be specified, say 64 degrees, at a prescribed distance, say 35cms and with one eye closed. PfR’s panoramic visuals were on hard board, making this completely impossible.

Councils in Scotland and the West Country are very experienced with issues surrounding wind machines and they are adopting higher standards for visualisations. HARM will be pressing WBC to insist that when the planning application is received new standards published in January 2010 by the Highland Council be followed, as they are much clearer and without room for ‘misinterpretation’. We will also ask them to be aware that developers often set out that they are following guidance, but then fail to follow it. We read that other local authorities are rejecting applications which to not comply with the new guidelines, and we will request reassurance that WBC will demand nothing less."

The Highland council guidelines can be found at the following web address



Harms Way event - 17th July


Many thanks to all the riders, runners, cyclists, and walkers who attended the 'Harm's Way' protest event on 17th July. This succeeded in getting us much coverage on BBC South Today, the web site, and various metions in the press.

Photographs of the event can be seen here.


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