'On balance the wider environmental and economic benefits do not outweigh the harm identified to heritage assets and landscape character and visual amenity.'
They meant that a small number of vocal house owners worried about a possible reduction in property values got there way. While politicians, despite some claiming to be pro renewables, caved in, scardy cats. They should be more scared of the long term lack of power, and losing Green votes .
Around 70% of wind farm proposals in the UK have been turned down. A public opinion poll by YouGov showed 70% of UK homeowners would be interested in investing in domestic renewables. Quite some disconnect, the 30% seem to get what they want.
Here's what the FOE had to say about the decision:
Wokingham Planning Committee have rejected Partnerships for Renewables’ (PfR) application to build four 2.5 MW turbines at Rushy Mead, south of the M4 between Shinfield and Arborfield, because they found that the renewable energy benefits of the proposed development are not considered to outweigh the harm identified to landscape character, to the setting and amenity of a number of settlements, and to the significance of two listed buildings.I found this interesting information here
The decision was unanimous – Conservative and Lib-Dem councillors voting together eight days before a local election. PfR are considering whether to appeal against this decision.
The good news is that the Borough Officers agreed with the applicants that the risks of noise, flicker, and flooding – which objectors had suggested could blight the lives of many people – and the effects on wildlife and rights of way, did not provide grounds for rejection of the application. It would be interesting to know to what extent local opposition was based on these fears, and what local opposition there would be based on visual amenity alone.
The opponents of Rushy Mead made much of what they call the 'inefficiency' of turbines in low-wind locations. This is technically known as the load factor - the ratio of average output to peak rated output over a year - which is said to average 17% for the Green Park turbine.
This measure is irrelevant. If Green Park had the same tower and blades but a lower rated generator it might have a higher load factor but generate less electricity at higher unit cost.
What matters is the benefit in terms of the reduction in fossil fuel use compared to the costs - both financial and environmental.
Turbines at Rushy Mead can be connected to the national grid at low cost - the pylons cross the site – and will require little expenditure on access roads compared with many high-wind sites, so they can be cost-effective.
Windier locations are likely to be more visible and may well cost more to connect to the grid.
The financial subsidy to renewables is paid per unit of electricity generated and the rate will be very similar for any on-shore turbine, whatever load factor it achieves. Off-shore turbines receive subsidy at twice the rate so provide electricity at much higher cost.