An attack on the Lincolnshire countryside

Jan 12th, with Mr. Bowler at the Bicker Fen wind farm

Jan 12th, with Mr. Bowler at the Bicker Fen wind farm

Try to imagine 350,000 vehicle movements, mostly lorries, in three years, down a ten-foot-wide country lane with few passing places.  That’s over 300 a day, every day, including weekends.  Plus 120,000 tons of rock and hardcore to provide a foundation for an electricity substation in the fens.  Water mains serving the local community broken by weight of traffic and construction work, fifty-seven times during the three years — with supplies lost for three days on one occasion.  Think of Cowbridge Road — that’s its name — a sea of mud in wet weather, a desert of dust in the dry.  Not so much the Lincolnshire fens — it sounds more like the retreat from Moscow.

I could scarcely believe the numbers when I first heard them, but they are provided by Lincolnshire County Council, which monitored the traffic.  This was a project to build thirteen wind-turbines and the sub-station in unspoiled Lincolnshire fenland.

On January 12th I went to Bicker Fen, near Boston, Lincs, to meet Mr. John Bowler, who lives in Cowbridge Lane with his wife, three horses and a couple of dogs.  Mr. Bowler is not in the best of health, yet he’s had to put up with the noise, day and night, and the dirt and dust and disruption, for years.

Now he faces a new threat.  The developers RWE want to build an additional substation.  This one has nothing to do with the local wind-farm.  It’s part of the infrastructure for the new Triton Knoll off-shore wind “park” off Mablethorpe.  To connect to the National Grid, they need to bring cabling right the way down through Lincolnshire, past Boston, from Mablethorpe.  Thankfully the cabling will be (in the industry jargon) “undergrounded”.  A pity the turbines can’t be undergrounded too.  And the developers need a substation, and are looking at Bicker Fen — again — as a location.  But Mr. Bowler has had enough.

There are many reasons to oppose wind power, not least that it fails in its primary objective of cutting emissions.  But if we must have wind farms, surely the associated substations could at least be put in accessible locations, by major roads — not down long, narrow lanes, causing years of disruption for local residents.  One of Mr Bowler’s neighbours is a farmer, who was forced to do his harvesting at night because the volume of day-time traffic blocked access to his farm.

The planning consent for Bicker Fen imposed a series of conditions on the developer, including regular cleaning of mud from the road.  Local residents tell me that the developer made no attempt to fulfil these conditions.  Why not?  Because the local authority simply can’t afford the legal costs of enforcement — especially against developers grown fat on subsidies, who have almost unlimited funds to defend legal cases — and, as we know to our cost, to challenge planning decisions that go against them.

Even in their own terms, can the emissions savings planned (not delivered) for wind turbines ever cover the emissions involved in 350,000 vehicle movements, and shifting 120,000 tons of hard-core?  I doubt it.  But I shall be writing to RWE to see what their figures say.

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8 Responses to An attack on the Lincolnshire countryside

  1. maureen gannon says:

    Can someone please tell me what happened to the “We are all in it together ?, people will decide for their communities via the Localism Bill ? we had the housing minister riding roughshod over people before they have a say in the desecration of their way of life by stating ” we have no choice but to build more.[ love the we] regardless of what people want . and this will be on green belt land. how many more people are going to be allowed in before there is strife,

  2. mikestallard says:

    If it was for fracking, then I would have some sympathy. But windmills only work when the wind blows – I thought even a child knew that. So they do not provide electricity unless the wind is blowing. And all that mess, mud and lorries is in aid of what?
    This Emperor really is naked!

  3. Mike Scott-Hayward says:

    Children do think windmillss are nice and needed – they are told so at school – the EU is brainwashing your kids.

  4. Ivor Ward says:

    Yes ,Mike. Money is being poured into schools to indoctrinate children in the ways of the consensus. The STASI would have been proud to know that their methods are being applied in the UK long after East Germany ceased to exist. We have a Government that only applies the law when it suits them.

  5. Well mr Helmer, you will be pleased to know that the intention is to build another x 22 wind turbines 125m tall (the Bicker ones are 100m tall) 5.45 kilometers to the north of that site at Heckington Fen. And it is hoped to build at least another x 17 125m turbines 5.25 to the south west.

    (Although the developer at Heckington feels they will not merge visually and create an overall industrialising effect of the area)……. I am absolutely certain they will.

  6. Douglas Colyer says:

    Dear Mr Helmer

    Sizewell C is a massive EDF programme. The one element is that we must expect the contract and sub-contracting to build it must be advertised throughout Europe. As usual these days the cheapest workforce will come from Eastern Europe, and like Boston and Peterborough, they won’t go home, resulting in a massive social problem in East Suffolk.

  7. Nigel Greaves says:

    Roger, if you are still in contact with Mr Bowler he may be interested to know that the planning condition imposed to keep the roads clean is not the only one that has not been complied with.
    Condition 10 states that a programme of noise monitoring should be agreed in writing with the LPA ~ unfortunately the LPA have no record or data of any noise monitoring at all, meaning that the wind farm has been operating for 8 years unregulated – condition 10 has been ignored/forgotten.

    If the new proposals for the substation are passed there will be no point in complaining about the mud on the road as the local authorities are in the process of passing a new policy.
    The “Persistent and Vexatious Customer Policy” was unanimously voted through to the next cabinet meeting, which is on the 6th April, where it will most likely be passed as there has been little notice given, and very few people were aware of it before an article in the local paper this week.
    Once in place, any complainant who complains several (more than once maybe) times about the state of the roads will fall into the “persistent” category (persistency has now become a crime in this borough), and the complainant then finds himself on a “no personal contact” list which means his complaining days are over.

    Ivor’s remark above about the STASI now seems quite apt…

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