Update 20/06/2011

The petition closed on 17th June with a total of 3250 signatories. This may seem fairly modest but by Welsh Assembly Government petition standards it is huge. The previous best was only 1893 signatures.

The effects of this effort are already beginning to feed through into policy with Wales’ first minister Caerwyn Jones announcing that he will be asking the Westminster Government for greater powers to control wind farm and grid developments in Wales. In the meantime, J-Gwen has raised an interesting point in comment #19.


I received the following message earlier today. At last there seems to signs of mass resistance to the industrialisation of some of the last remaining truly rural areas of Britain. Tan 8 is a Welsh planning policy document that opens the way to building wind farms even in National Parks and at Sites of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The petition asks the Welsh Assembly Government to reconsider this document in the light of growing public opposition. If you care about such things, do please spare a moment to sign up:


JoshWind It’s official, our e-petition is the biggest ever.

Since the National Assembly of Wales e-petition web site was launched, our petition – “Say No to Tan 8 – Windfarms & High Voltage Power Lines Spoiling our Community” has collected the most e-signatures ever, now standing at 2083 (mid afternoon Wednesday 8th June 2011)  the previous highest being 1893.

This shows the depth of feeling amongst the people of Wales and beyond to the hideous plans. The closing date is 17th June (mid-day) and anyone who has not signed it is urged to do so, follow the link below or just search for e-petitions on the National Assembly web site.



Thank you for all your support

Cartoon courtesy of Josh – more here, or if you really want to let people know how you feel get the the T-shirt



22 Responses to “Welsh Assembly petition against Tan 8 and more wind farms”

  1. Thanks for publishing the link to the Welsh Assembly Petition, “Say no to Tan 8” – since it went live on 18th May we have had 2354 signatures, it closes mid day on 17th June so I urge anyone who has not already signed up, to do so as soon as possible
    John Day

  2. All signed up. There will be a lot more of this all over the UK as the Govt builds these windmills in our loveliest places and people realise that as well as looking at windmills they will also have to contend with transmission lines.


    TonyN says: Thanks Tony. In this case the power lines and sub-stations seem to be causing every bit as much concern as the turbines themselves.

  3. Signed!

    Re wind turbines and also the new pylons they’re planning to build, which would be needed if they want to convey power to the grid from wind farms off the coast of North Wales, I’m no economist but reading about the recent National Ecosystem Assessment made me wonder. Here’s the Guardian’s take on the report:

    The health benefits of living with a view of a green space are worth up to £300 per person per year, in part by providing areas for people to exercise but also because simply looking at nature lifts people’s spirits, according to scientific research. Living close to rivers, coasts and wetlands is also a boon – the benefits to residents are about £1.3bn a year.

    But these benefits are rarely taken into account when decisions are made about granting permission for building and other development, and in selling off green spaces such as playing fields.

    Thinking about onshore wind, what, then, would be the value, in monetary terms, of a hillside without a wind turbine and its accompanying access roads and pylons? If “simply looking at nature lifts people’s spirits”, then replacing the “view of a green space” with the view of a giant mechanism will reduce the value of that green space and should be taken into account when decisions are made about granting permission for building more wind farms, will it not? This might sound silly, but if Defra are serious about this exercise, surely what they have done is introduce a new and negative externality into the equation, as the wind farm will degrade the “natural services” provided by the green spaces it occupies and dominates, and that degradation can be costed.

    Two potential consequences come to mind.1) If the green space is calculated to be more valuable than the wind farm, the government’s own logic would dictate not building the wind farm. And 2) If the wind farm degrades natural services in the area, and this degradation is costed, surely it will make wind farms more expensive to build (turning the externality into an internality) and thus less competitive than was thought earlier.

    Does the National Ecosystem Assessment, then, create an unintended consequence that can be made use of?

  4. I can speak with experience about the onshore infrastructure associated with these windfarms having spent 18 months fighting an application to build one such sub station on the highest land in Norfolk, on a plateau edge where it is visible from distances of 6km plus, and immediately adjacent to a small village.

    The Dudgeon offshore wind farm (Warwick Energy Ltd) has been in planning since 2003. In 2009 an application was put in to Breckland District Council for outline planning permission for a 1.4GW DC-AC conversion station and step up transformers to connect to the 400kV supergrid. This facility will occupy 25 acres, contain 4 DC-AC conversion buildings each 70 x 25 x 15m plus numerous other buildings, filter banks etc.

    The damage to the local environment and landscape is inestimable, the effect on the 200 villagers severe.

    The project was rejected by Breckland Council Planning committee by a 17:1 vote despite the planning officer recommending acceptance. The company appealed and this week we had the public hearing. On the first morning the inspector announced that the previous evening the government called the application in with a decision to be made by the secretary’s of state for climate change (Greg Barker) and community (Eric Pickles). The case against this facility is undeniable and it is recognised the Parish Council put up a fantastic defence.

    If anyone would like any further information then please do contact me: paul dot dennis at me dot com.

    It is possible to build momentum against such a foolish rush for wind energy, it’s associated costs (financial, environmental, lost opportunity to research alternatives) and the irreparable damage the turbines and the associated transmission infrastructure does to our landscape and local communities.

    TonyN says: All power to you in the battle to come. Do I seem to remember ‘localism’ being among the coalition’s long list of touchy-feely good intentions?

  5. We have been fighting these things for years, but Government policy outweighs all logical arguments against the destruction of our countryside and the ruination of the economy.

    To stop them we must repeal the Climate Change Act and drop the EU renewable energy targets.

    See and sign at http://www.repealtheact.co.uk/

  6. Hi everyone

    Is there a simple succinct guide that relates the quoted capacity of a wind farm (used to gain planning) to its ACTUAL likely output, and then relates this to the output of an equivalent average sized modern coal/gas power station?

    It would be useful if the guide could mention the relative cost per MW of power generated by each method.

    I would also like to see mention made of how many households a wind farm of a specific capacity could power and what is deemed to be the usage of those households. For example you often see a claim made that a windfarm will power 50000 households, but what is being included? Electric lights? All electrical appliances? Heating? Hot water? etc etc.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? Please note the words’ simple AND succinct!



    [Tonyn says: This might be a good place to start:
    http://www.countryguardian.net/The Case Against Wind Farms.pdf (for some reason this URL will not format correctly)]

  7. tonyb #6 Lots of people ask the same question you do. The answers are all in the book The Wind Farm Scam by John Etherington, who is the author of the information in TonyN’s link, but you soon realise there is no simple or succinct answer to your question, and this is essentially why all the “electric is cheaper” rubbish can be published with out challenge, as it takes a lot of work to demonstrate it is often wrong.

  8. TonyN and PeterGeany

    You both illustrate my point. Sometimes we need succinct bullet points not great long screeds. These are no doubt very worthwhile if you are actively fighting a windfarm application but not if you want to make informed comments in a variety of forum.

    For example, what exactly constitutes the power used by a household, as in ‘this windfarm will supply the electricity for 50,000 households?’ There must be somre simple answer.


  9. tonyb, #8:

    Might you just possibly be working up to doing SOMETHING REALLY USEFUL.

    I can see your point about having this data in a reallly ‘susinct’ form as bullet points, but if that is to be used in a campaign of the kind you seem to have in mind then of course it also has to be bullet proof too. That might prove difficult because I’m not at all sure there are concise answers to the questions you are posing, but PeterG would have a better view on this than me.

    I notice that there is an email address for John Etherington at the link I gave you and if the kind of info you are looking for does exist then he of all people should be able to point you in the right direction. Do let us know if you manage to get further with this.

  10. TonyN

    I had hoped that SOMETHING REALLY USEFUL.might already exist, as this is hardly an issue that has suddenly come about overnight. There is a time for succinct information and there is a time for complex information-the latter when you are actually in front of the planning inspector and the former in most other cases.

    I will do a scour round the net to see if something already exists.


  11. TonyuN and Peter Geany

    Here is a single page argument for wind farms


    Dr Etherington’s excellent counter argument, running to 54 pages

    This much shorter one, but light on facts

    I can’t find the sceptics equivalent to the Climate Change Wales succinct piece in favour.


  12. tonyb and TonyN I suppose we could have a go at a simple “no its not” counter to the one page argument for wind farms. The whole page is just a list of misinformation and out of context quotes. Much of the information is from 2006/7 which means some of it could be as much as 10 years old. In particular the emotional arguments about not harming birds and the noise not being a nuisance have turned against wind turbines.

    Its the age old problem that Authority gets away with outrageous claims because the MSM don’t hold them to account, yet if we were to be as lax in our counter claims the BBC would do a Panorama on us claiming we were nutters.

    Should we all have a go at posting retorts and then chose the best and have it published. Maybe have a completion and find some sponsorship and do a mass mailing to all residents in Wales. Maybe if I win the lottery this week…………………………

  13. Here is my starter for our to counter this Maybe some other material is more appropriate or some paraphrasing need

    Argument 1: Wind produces little power

    This argument is often countered by quoting Denmark. However studies have shown that rather than the 15% often quoted wind actually only supplied 3.3% in 2003. This is due to the power often being produced when demand is low and in excess of base load. Not one single hydrocarbon fuelled power station has been shut down due to the intermittent nature of wind. Excess power from Danish wind farms is often sold on the open market, but at a great loss as the generators are paid at the inflated rate for renewables. No saving in CO2 has resulted from Denmark’s Wind production but the cost has been enormous.

    It is often said that the UK has the best wind resource in Europe and the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK. Again this has been demonstrated to be false. Much of the UK’s wind occurs at night again when demand is low, and we have seen the UK pay generators to switch off during these periods. For two winters in a row very cold weather, when demand is highest, has seen very light winds and little wind generation. This is caused by the not untypical high pressure block that causes our coldest winter weather. Rather than producing the installed average of 35% of capacity last year wind farms managed a paltry 17%. In some high profile instances the figure was below 10%. During our coldest period last winter it was below 1%. These are net figures before transmission losses and before deductions for running the turbines. During the very cold weather with little wind considerable electricity is needed to heat the turbines and power is need to keep them moving.

    Most turbines will not produce enough power to cover all the energy that was used to produce and install them in often remote locations that require extensive civil engineering. Not only this they do not have a great maintenance record and many are already shut down and labelled as uneconomic to repair.

  14. Here is my starter for our flyer to counter this Maybe some other material is more appropriate or some paraphrasing need

    TonyN I get some strange behaviour when I insert a hyperlink sometimes

  15. tonyb Have you seen this link. Lots of info

  16. Peter Geany

    Yes, that is very good information with lots more links at the end of the paper. However it still does not fall into the category of succict informative bullet points.


  17. tonyb, #11:

    Country Guardian has always been hypersensitive about being accused of putting out misleading information, which is not surprising given who they are up against, and their adversaries lack of scruples. Hence the somewhat prolix information on their website which provides all the analysis and ifs and buts. Also their role is rather unusual. They fight no campaigns but act as enablers, facilitators, coordinators and a clearing house for information for those who do so. Are you on Angie Kelly’s mailing list? If not, there is very little that happens in the world of wind that escapes her notice, and I can let you have contact details.

    It’s now a long time since I looked at the question you pose in #8, but at that time there certainly wasn’t a simple answer, and that allowed the BWEA (now Renewables UK) to make some very extravagant claims. They were assuming a very low average domestic load and at the moment I would be astonished if their calculations don’t include notional savings from smart meter and insulation schemes in the future. But I’m guessing about that and John Etherington will no doubt have looked at this properly although there may be a difference between what seems likely and what can be proved.

    If you are looking for a chink in the armour, then try considering the breakdown between commercial and domestic electricity consumption when considering what a wind farm can do.

  18. At 16.30 on 16th I tried to sign the petition only to find that it had been closed. Is this a Welsh Assembly fiddle to ensure that they can show little support for the petition.

  19. I think that the fact that TAN8 is designed to be the most financially benefitial method to WAG of renewable energy generation needs to be raised more widely.

    It was WAG who chose that TAN8 only covers windfarms, not other more effective methods of energy generation.

    It was WAG who chose the ‘strategic search areas’ for windfarms. All of which just happen to consist mainly of forestry commission land. Management of the publicly owned forests in Wales Forestry has been devolved to WAG. Therefore WAG has recieved the income from selling the rights to apply for planning permission for windfarms on that land. The forestry commission makes it very clear on its website that all income from the 25 year leases which will be agreed between the windfarm developers and the forestry commission (Wales) if planning permission is granted for the windfarms will go to WAG.

  20. J-Gwen, #19:

    That’s a very interesting point that I haven’t seen raised before.

    The sum must by now be considerable. It would almost certainly be possible to find out just how much money is involved, and how much might by received in the future if wind development is allowed continue unabated, by using the Freedom of Information Act. This can be done very simply from this website but, from personal experience, I know that it is important to frame the question in such a way that there is no opportunity for the public authority concerned to ‘misunderstand’ what you are asking for.

  21. It seems to me that the only eventual beneficiaries of onshore wind-farms are the foreign owned utility companies who will own them. They get massive subsidies (at cost to the consumer) to build them in the first place then obtain huge sums of compensation to shut them down when demand is low. Its a “win win” situation which inflates domestic utility bills but costs the nation it’s heritage by the total loss of wonderful untouched countryside. This futile rush for wind-farms to “save the world” is not necessary and other well known options are available. One certainly should not consider the ruination of our present country mainly by foreign companies in the vain hope that it will stave off global warming.

    [TonyN says: There is absolutely nothing that I could add to that.]

  22. Hi TonyB, re the claims of x number of homes powered by wind farms, I think I might have a formula, of sorts. The figures you need are a) the capacity of the wind farm, b) the load factor of the wind farm, i.e., percentage of capacity, and c) the average annual household energy consumption in kWh – this can be found on DECC’s website, e.g., the figure for 2008 is 4,478 kWh, as per this spreadsheet:

    My example is the London Array:
    Total future capacity: 1,000 MW
    Load factor: at least 39% (rather high!)
    Powers 750,000 homes (or will eventually, according to the brochure.)

    There are 8760 hours in a year.
    A load factor of 39% gives us 3416.4 hours in the year
    Annual output is therefore 3,416,000 MWh
    Average annual household energy consumption = 4,478 kWh = 4.478 MWh
    Number of homes powered = 3,416,000 / 4.478 = 762,930 homes (rounded up.)

    750,000 homes at 4.478 MWh gives us 3,358,500 MWh annual output
    There are 8760 hours in a year.
    8760 x [load factor percentage] = 3358.5 hours
    Load factor is therefore about 38.34%

    By comparison, here’s some data about Drax coal-fired power station:
    Annual output for 2008 was 25.4 TWh = 25,400,000 MWh
    Number of homes powered = 25,400,000 / 4.478 = 5,672,175

    Therefore, I calculate that Drax is able to power about 7.5 times more homes than even the (future) largest offshore wind farm in the world.

    I’m not extremely mathematically inclined, so have probably made some very silly and basic errors. Also, as you can see, I haven’t managed to replicate the London Array figures exactly, although I’ve managed to arrive at ballpark figures (in the unlikely event that I’m correct, either the 750,000 homes figure is too low, or the “at least 39%” load factor is too high.)

    Maybe someone else could check these workings-out? :)

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