Biggleswade wind farm

Biggleswade Wind farm

A great campaign success

There is a ten-turbine wind farm between the A1 and the East Coast Mainline railway line beside Langford just south of Biggleswade. The wind farm is owned by the CO-OP and generates enough energy for 11000 homes.

However, in 2009 when the plans were consulted on it seemed that local opposition would stop it completely on the grounds of noise but South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth did a big campaign and employed a top expert on noise to support the wind farm and were successful.

SBFOE spent a lot of time looking at the plans before they started a campaign of leafleting as they never just support a wind farm or wind turbine without checking all the details on positioning, noise, and ecology etc. They follow the RSPB’s attitude on wind farms. The RSPB strongly support onshore wind as well as other renewable energy as climate change is the biggest threat to birds, however they do a careful assessment of the impacts on ecology and will oppose a wind turbine that will harm the local ecology. The wind turbine at the RSPB headquarters is turned off at certain times so that it does not interfere with bats ; Although the RSPB have supported many wind turbines across the country they heals opposed some where they interfere with migratory routes or would negatively affect the local ecology .

However Central Bedfordshire Council voted to refuse planning permission on grounds of noise and visual impact in January 2011, despite some councillors pointing out that the site visit by councillors before the Development Management committee meeting had to continually be halted as the councillors could not hear the officers due to the noise of the trains. The CO-OP appealed and the case was taken to the independent Planning Inspectorate.

In order to support of the case brought by the CO-OP South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth raised £1500 to employ Ian Bennett, Editor of the Acoustics Bulletin to give evidence to the Planning Inspector the difference in the methods of assessing noise between the Acoustician used by CBC who has always opposed wind turbines across the country and is frequently quoted by the anti wind movement and the main methods used the Institute of Acousticians. CBC had employed Mike Stigwood of MAS Consulting, whose evidence was responsible for stopping the Poddington wind farm (in the Age of Stupid), and the Denbrook wind farm (featured in Wind Wars on Channel 4), as well as many other wind farm proposals.

South Bedfordshire Friends of the earth also gave evidence on the urgent need to cut greenhouse gases to prevent “dangerous” climate change of over 2 degrees which was quoted in the Inspector’s report.

The inspector dismissed the methodology of the CBC’s noise consultant in favour of the noise consultants of the CO-OP and South Bedfordshire friends of the Earth.

The wind farm has been built and is providing enough electricity for 11,000 homes.

Summary of issues in the Planning Inspector’s report