Welcome to Swere Valley Environmental Protection Group (SVEP) Website
UPDATE 29 JUNE 2012
Following discussions with Tim Lunel, Hook Norton Low Carbon has released the following statement:
“We (HNLC) have noted that after the installation of the met mast, residents in the immediate vicinity of the mast have expressed their opposition to a turbine being sited there. Any proposal for a community wind turbine would take time to put together and we (HNLC) understand the uncertainty this has created for the residents in the immediate vicinity of the met mast. Hence we (HNLC) confirm that the field on Council Hill in which the met mast is located is not anticipated to be a site HNLC will consider for a future consultation with the community”
SVEP has been set up with the following aims:
- To inform all homes and businesses in the Swere Valley of the potential of a planning application being submitted by Hook Norton Low Carbon for a wind turbine/turbines.
- To oppose the siting of wind turbines in the Swere Valley
The Swere Valley
The Swere Valley runs from just East of Great Rollright through Swerford, Wigginton and South Newington. It is an exceptionally beautiful and mature landscape of rolling hills and hedgerows, filled to brimming with wildlife including badgers, deer, skylarks, bats and owls. It is a piece of quintessential, English countryside that is enjoyed by a large number of people for a variety of recreational and other uses. In particular, public footpaths crisscross the fields and there are several stables and riding schools.
The siting of wind turbines and supporting electricity infrastructure on hills in the Swere Valley would be highly visible over a wide area, leading to the degradation of an exceptional landscape and the loss and displacement of wildlife.
If wind turbines are the future then we believe that they need to be grouped in suitable areas of low landscape value – not dotted about in glorious countryside in a chaotic free-for-all.
Hook Norton Low Carbon
Hook Norton Low Carbon Ltd (HNLC) is an industrial provident society set up by Low Carbon Hook Norton to help members of Hook Norton village reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint.
HNLC was given seed funding by the Energy Savings Trust to start a number of energy savings initiatives, including loft insulation, solar panels and the creation of a biodiesel fuel tank. Most of these initiatives have been well received and they have our support. However, the next phase of its development is to turn HNLC into a self-funding organisation that part funds its activities through revenue generated by renewable energy, including wind power – hence its proposal for a wind turbine.
It is a great disappointment that HNLC, which is in many ways attempting to safeguard the environment, should even contemplate an idea that will so obviously and so substantially degrade an outstandingly lovely piece of the countryside. In addition, the very real and inevitable downsides of a wind turbine are to be set against ‘benefits’ that are at best questionable. We read that the electricity market is distorted by temporary subsidies for wind power that have resulted in a ‘gold rush’ for such schemes – schemes which would frequently be unviable otherwise and yet, when they are built, will disfigure the landscape for at least 25 years.
Electricity can enter the grid at any point – it does not have to be generated near Hook Norton to belong to the HNLC. HNLC can take a share in a wind turbine project already in existence, should it be so minded. However, we believe that HNLC can achieve its aims through other energy saving and generating schemes which cause far less damage to the environment than wind power.
Wind Mast on Council Hill
With its intention of trying to become self-funding, HLNC obtained planning permission (application number 10/01721/F) from Cherwell District Council on 7 January 2011 to erect a temporary 40m meteorological mast to test wind speeds on Council Hill. Contrary to what was claimed in the planning application, neighbouring dwellings and businesses were not consulted about the mast and did not give their support to it. In fact, ALL of the neighbouring dwellings and businesses OPPOSE this development.
It should be noted that obtaining planning permission for a wind turbine is an entirely separate matter from obtaining planning permission for a weather mast and, indeed, Cherwell District Council made this clear when it permitted the mast. The mast has been permitted for a period of up to two years to gather wind data. Any future wind turbine would need to go through a successful planning application process before it could be built.
We regard it as highly unlikely that HNLC could finance a wind turbine itself. Almost certainly, the proposal would require the involvement of a commercial developer. A commercial developer will not find it economic to erect a single turbine and would subsidise HNLC’s turbine through installing other turbines. Therefore, we see the idea of a wind turbine to finance HNLC’s activities as likely to provide the Trojan Horse for a full scale wind farm to be erected in the Swere Valley. Moreover, once the landscape has been degraded with one wind farm, it is easier to build others.
The Swere Valley needs YOU!
Will you join us? If you support our aims, please register your support by signing our online petition.