Opponents to the project are being lead by a group calling themselves Dorset Against Rural Turbines (DART). They are highly vocal and not necessarily from this area. Using disproportionate 'home-made' photo-montages and gleaning rare examples of horror stories they try to scare naturally concerned, nearby residents into protest.

So lets look at their claims, we have tried to objectively assess whether they do raise real issues;

Wildlife:  the physical footprint of a wind turbine is quite small but nevertheless there is a small displacement which should be mitigated and in this proposal is included in the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Bird strike:  we approached a wind farm land owner in Northants to ask about this, he confirmed that an ornithologist on his site for a year found only one dead kestrel, cause of death unknown. The average cat kills more birds than a wind turbine (although your local moggy probably wont try to take on a kestrel!). DART use examples from America where a badly placed wind farm was situated on a migration route.

Noise: Turbines have developed significantly over the last ten years, work has been done to reduce noise down to a minimum. The model identified for this project (Enercon E70) has no gearbox and is one of the quietest on the market. We went to experience for ourselves this type and can confirm that they are not noisy. You can stand underneath them and comfortably hold a conversation.

Tourism:  On the route from Wareham to Monkey World, this will probably become a tourist attraction.

House prices: Recent studies suggest no link between house prices and proximity to a wind farm, an older survey tells us that 60% of surveyers thought that the initial stages of a wind farm development may have a slight adverse effect but that diminishes after a couple of years, once established in the landscape.

Excessive profits for the landowner from government subsidies:  The system used to encourage investment into clean energy is the Renewables Obligations Certificate (ROC). This requires energy companies to buy certificates from suppliers to prove they have used renewable power. You can only sell certificates for power you have generated, therefore if a wind farm doesn't generate electricity - as suggested by the opponents (see below), then no ROCs can be sold. A self defeating argument.

Ineffective power generators: Wind turbines generate power around 80% of the time, but they wont give maximum output all the time so how their output is calculated is using what is called load factor, this is worked out as a percentage of their power rating. Alaska wind farm will consist of four 2.3MW turbines and the load factor is expected to be around 27%. So 4 x 2.3 = 9.2 x 0.27(load factor) = 2.484 x 24(hours in a day) x 365(days per year) = 21754 MWh, that's over 21 million domestic units! Enough to power around  5,000 homes every year.

Visual impact: this is a valid point, they will be big, 84 metres to the hub and a swept hight of 125m, but many people like their appearance, they are a graceful symbol of hope for a sustainable future, a signal that we are attempting to head off the disastrous consequences of climate change.

The reason they have to be so tall is to catch the best wind resouces, it is more  consistent up there and will generate more power. This is a lesson learnt from Germany and Denmark, who are now installing bigger turbines (see below). It will also take the blades above the normal flight patterns of heathland birds.

The countryside we see around us is a working environment, country people understand this and know that a return on investment is required. The location of the proposal is a brownfield site, a former quarry and could be used for less attractive purposes.

 They will need back up from conventional power stations for when it isn't windy:  A distributed network of different kinds of renewable energy sources will provide a more stable, reliable supply. If the wind isn't blowing here, it will probably be blowing elsewhere, if supply is dropping then release stored energy from Hydro. At present the National Grid has to maintain a considerable back-up capability in case one of the major plants goes down - such as happened in May '08 when Sizewell B and Longannet tripped within minutes leaving thousands without electricity. It is also worth noting that we use more power in the winter just when our wind resources are highest.

Denmark and Germany have given up on wind power: Denmark and Germany have NOT given up on wind power.
In fact both countries are undergoing a program of 'Re-powering', this is when an aging wind farm of small turbines are replaced by fewer, larger ones. This results in greater power outputs and perhaps surprisingly, better visual appearance.

We are the windiest country in Europe but last year Spain installed 8 times as much capacity as we did, Germany almost 4 times and France twice as much. China installed more in one year than we have in total.

Epilepsy: There is no evidence that wind turbines can trigger seizures.
 
According to BERR website,
"Scientists agree that the frequencies that produce disturbance and nuisance to people lie above 2.5 hertz (cycles per second). This is true both of the general population and of the 2 per cent who suffer from epilepsy, 5 per cent of whom have exhibited an adverse reaction to flicker effects above 2.5 to 3 hertz. This is well above the maximum frequency effect from turbines, which is usually under 1 hertz, and is therefore well below that considered to be the cause of nuisance."

Thus, shadowing from wind turbines poses no threat to the health of people with epilepsy or other individuals who are photosensitive.

Climate change: Incredibly a few hang onto the belief that this is not happening, whether out of ignorance or not wanting to face the consensus of scientific opinion (that's real scientists), or in some forlorn hope that the natural world is more resilient to human pressure, one by one they coming to realise through simple observation that it is happening.

In fact it was recently proven in a UK court of law that shutting down a coal fired power station was reasonable and proportionate in preventing greater property damage from climate change.

We have listened to the experts, and it doesn't look good.
Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA, tells us that 'the worst case scenario is business as usual'.
We have to change the way we do things.
DART is not submitting any alternative to the Council, nor are they likely to, it is Alaska wind farm or business as usual.

 2000 name petition:  Having spent some time talking to the people of Purbeck, I know approx. 75% are in favour. To get 2000 names from around here means they must have been extremely busy and collected almost everyone who objects! We would look very carefully at such a petition.

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