July 25, 2006
Wind farm boss hits back in latest war of words over Burnham turbines

Dale Vince, Managing Director of EcotricityThe man behind plans to build a controversial wind farm between Burnham-On-Sea and Brent Knoll has this week hit back at protesters in a heated row over 11th hour changes to the planning application.

Dale Vince, Managing Director of Ecotricity, claimed that the KNOll to Wind Farm group is misleading the public over the turbines (shown above in a photomontage).

On Sunday, Andrew Manning, spokesperson for the KNOll to Windfarm action group, told Burnham-On-Sea.com that Ecotricity had submitted changes to its application to move the proposed wind turbines away from the railway line because such a location would have “broken government guidelines.”

But Mr Vince hit back on Tuesday (July 25th), saying: “Knoll To Wind Farm’s latest statement is the usual mixture of false claims leading to exaggerated conclusions designed to scaremonger among local people. It’s really something they should be called to account for, it is fundamentally dishonest.”

“Specifically, they claim that our turbine plans “contravened Government policies” with regards their location next to the railway line. They have got that absolutely wrong. Look at the facts and the government ‘policy’ on this (contained in PPS22) advises the provision of fall over distance for separation – and if they checked our application they would see that this is exactly what we provided.”

“What actually occurred is that the operators of that railway line asked for fallover distance plus 10 per cent – which is over and above government advice and over an above that generally sought. Rather than argue the toss we agreed to give the operator what they asked for, its a simple as that. We simply co-operated with a requet that was over and above that set out by government.”

“This is rather a long way from the group’s claim that we breached government policy in the original siting.”

“The other issue the group refers to, as one where we have submitted additional info, is access. And, here again, the group has it 100% wrong. We have not submitted further info on access to the council.”

“The only change we have made is to accommodate the railway operators request, which was itself above and beyond that suggested by government policy. And considering the range of organisations that are consulted on wind projects and the complexity of all the issues addressed within the EIA, I believe it is to our credit that there has been nothing found untoward with this application – nothing at all.”

“Our only amend was to accomodate somebody that wanted more than government policy said was required. And so I stand by my earlier statements – this is a very robust application and it is capable, and has proven itself so, to withstand any criticism that can be thrown at it. It is certainly capable of withstanding the half baked half truths and exaggerations that Mr Manning comes up with.”

“And with regards safety – it is a fact that separation distances are suggested to protect in the event of the worst case scenario – they are not suggested because wind turbines actually fall over and it’s ridiculous to claim that there are any safety issues here, either before or after the move. By the way, it is important to note that the average move was about 5m – that’s it.”

“On the RICS report – we qouted it accurately on our Web site, and have not made any ‘corrections’ because of anything that the Knoll group has raised with us – this is just more of their fiction.”

“With regards to the ASA complaint he refers to, we have addressed this before. And so again – the ASA accepted that there was no attempt to decieve on our part, as part of their judgement, and that it was a simple mistake – specifically the output for one of our early machines was quoted as the output predicted at the time of construction and had not been updated to reflect actual experience to date. The estimates we make are 10 year averages and the ASA felt we should either make it clear it is a long term average predicted figure or refer to recent actual ouput figures (which do vary from year to year). The whole thing was very marginal and rather a waste of ASA time.”

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