Helsby & Frodsham Wind Power

Please note: This page contains material from Andrew Basden's initial page on Frodsham Wind Farm. It is in process of being rewritten.

Peel Energy has recently announced that it intends to submit an application to situate 21 wind turbines on its land of Frodsham and Ince Marshes, Cheshire, U.K. Immediately there has been a flurry of opposition in the local press and council. I am in favour of wind power on Frodsham Marshes. This page

The Benefits of Wind Power

Compared with other sources of electricity, wind power has a number of benefits:

Wind Generators on Frodsham Marshes

The UK has the best wind regime in Europe and we should take the lead in using this resource. The wind that whistles down the Mersey, across Frodsham and Ince Marshes and into the 'Cheshire Gap' is part of this. We should be capitalising on it.

Therefore I would like wind generators on Frodsham and Ince marshes, to supply enough electricity, averaged over the year, for Frodsham, Helsby, Ince, Elton and a bit for Runcorn. I could then look out and think, "Those supply our power*." I'd be proud if we are also contributing a bit more for the nation's power.

The other day I looked out of the window and knew that wind generators would change the view. After a moment of concern, I asked myself, "Would I get used to it?" "Yes," I answered, "I would get used to it." I believe that we who want to enjoy easily-available electricity should bear some of the costs of producing it - not just the financial costs, but the inconvenience and disruption - and not just push those costs off onto others. The change in view from my window might be such a cost.

The Peel Energy Application

For sake of breeding an attitude of responsibility, especially in this era of climate change, it is important that all areas of the UK suitable for wind power should have wind generators on them. Frodsham Marshes is one of these. It is the owner of this land - Peel - that is seeking to put wind generators on it. If the owner is prevented from putting wind generators on their own land, then nobody else will be able to do so. So it is important that Peel is allowed to develop wind generators there.

Peel's application is for 21 turbines, generating on average 15MW (maximum 50MW), enough for 30,000 homes, a quarter of the renewable energy target for the local authority. I would prefer a smaller number, enough for the local area plus a bit more - around 10-15,000 homes. But I would prefer the 21 turbines to none, for reasons above.

Why 21 turbines? Government regulations say that if maximum generation capacity is over 50MW, then it is deemed a strategic resource and the Secretary of State decides on it, rather than local authorities. It is a shame that it has to be like this, because it makes localised wind power - a couple of turbines here and there - that much more difficult to gain permission for. Apparently this is part of the new planning regime, which the Government created in response to the failure of many 'strategic' installations to get planning approval. In particular, over the past decade the anti-wind people have been so successful in getting local authorities to decide against wind power - usually because of 'not-in-my-back-yard'. It is those anti-wind people who are responsible for this state of affairs, in which Peel feel bound to propose a larger wind facility than is needed locally.

So, unfortunately, there has to be enough turbines to make 50MW max. Nevertheless, I would like a couple removed from the plan. In particular, there is one sited rather near the caravan site (just over half a km away), which I think should be removed from the plan. In my opinion, Peel were daft to have included that one in the original plans, because it has given the anti-wind people the opportunity to frighten us.

Andrew Basden.

What To Do

I believe this wind farm application should be given a fair hearing. The problem we face is that debate has been stifled. The local paper has so far refused to print pro-wind and pro-wind-farm letters. The leader of Frodsham Town Council and the local MP are vocally against it. But good quality debate is necessary for democracy to work. If you agree with me, then please:

Written by Andrew Basden.

Created: 6 December 2009. Last updated: 10 December 2009 paper. 5 January 2010 small updates in response to comments. 18 February 2010 more on flicker, voles. 28 February 2010 extracted 'opposers' to separate page, and removed some other stuff. 16 March 2010 corrected carbon payback.