Let’s make some news

 

Make Headlines

Local news is one of the best ways of getting your voice heard and sharing your opinion with a large audience. It is a great tool to promote your ideas, and when your voice is part of a larger crowd of voices it becomes real news.

That’s why HREC are asking all our supporters to write in to your local newspaper. One letter about Bullington Cross might make it into the local comment pages, a whole barrage of letters makes headlines.

As always, you can find some inspiration below and details of who to write to.

So don’t wait, get writing and let’s make some headlines.

Tips and Advice

Keep it short- editors get hundreds of letters per week, all competing for valuable print space. Keeping things brief give you the best chance of being included.

Make it Persuasive- We all know several good reasons why community owned wind energy is necessary, pick one or two rather than trying to squeeze them all in.  If you need some inspiration we have included some of our best below.

Make it personal- There is an old adage in journalism; “facts tell, stories sell”. Journalists love the personal touch. Think why Bullington Cross is important to you and cover that.

12 Good Reasons

1. 70% of the UK population support wind farms.

2. 2,750 local people have written to Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover councils asking for community ownership of the Bullington Cross wind farm.

3. The benefits of wind farms far outweigh any costs. They reduce carbon emissions, do not produce pollution,  produce cheap renewable energy, generate local jobs, increase council revenues, and reduce our reliance on expensive dirty imported fossil fuels. 

4. Wind farms generated enough electricity to power 5 million homes last year

6. Wind farms are just as efficient as nuclear, gas, and coal fired power plants.

5. By the end of 2013 17% of UK electricity came from renewable resources.

6. Wind farms have a smaller impact on our landscape than coal, oil, gas or nuclear power plants.

7. We have to get our electricity from somewhere it makes sense that we make some of it ourselves

8. Hampshire spends £4 billion a year on fossil fuels to generate energy.  This is a drain on our local economy.  We can make energy renewably ourselves and save money. 

9. Community ownership means the benefits and profits from the wind farm accrue to local people ie US

10. A co-operative (Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-op) has been formed to buy a community stake in the wind farm.

11. The biggest danger facing our countryside is climate change.

12. A NO to wind farms = A YES for climate change.

 

If your letters get printed please do let us know so we can feature them here on our website. Thanks!

 

Photo Credit: DB Photographs

Wind Power – Just hot air? or a sensible future?

Turbines at Westmill

Our community wind farm, despite being banned by councillors, continues to spark debate and make headlines in local newspapers.

Recently, chief Anti-Windfarmer, Douglas Patterson wrote to the Basingstoke Gazette (Why Wind Power is Just Hot Air) to express his gratitude to the councillors and suggest his own solution to the energy and climate crisis; Thorium Nuclear reactors in every town.

You can read his letter to the paper here.

However, his suggestion for ‘safe, clean energy’ did not go unnoticed by supporters of our community wind farm, whom quickly wrote into the Gazette with more realistic ideas and suggestions.

You can read them here.

We also made it into the Hampshire Chronicle with letters from another supporter. You can find copies of these below.

No green wind farm in my back yard

Wind Farm efficiency

It goes to show, you can make a difference. Write a letter to your local newspaper and it could be seen by thousands of people. Or why not write a letter to your councillor?

If you have been inspired to pick up a pen, or take to the keyboard, and write a letter of your own.

Thanks!

 

Photo Credits: Jeff Kubina, Rowbes Photography

Councillors say ‘No’ to community wind farm

Press Release – Local people let down by Councillors.

Yesterday Basingstoke, Test Valley and Winchester councils voted to ban the community owned wind farm at Bullington Cross.  All three  Councils decided to completely ignore the massive local support for the farm.

Basingstoke, Test Valley and Winchester Councils decided last night that they would ignore local people and voted to ban the partially community owned wind farm at Bullington Cross.

Two thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Five (2,845) people wrote to or emailed the three councils asking them to support the wind farm.  Despite this and with 70% of the UK population wanting wind farms OUR councils decided to refuse a planning application for the construction of a 14 turbine wind farm at Bullington Cross.

The majority of Councillors gave one or more of the following reasons for refusing the planning application from EDF-ER for Bullington Cross Wind Farm:

  1. The turbines look ugly.  This was despite being shown pictures on a big screen of what the turbines would look like and even the planning officers saying “Sorry; you just can’t see them”
  2. There was a perceived danger that aeroplanes might fly in to them.  This was despite two reports from aviation experts that there are no safety concerns over the turbines.
  3. Wind farms are a danger to wildlife that may live on the site. This was despite the offer from the developer to mitigate these risks and there being no objection from the RSPB. The biggest danger to our wildlife is global warming; but most councillors disagreed with that.
  4. The MoD needs the area to practice low flying. This was despite the councils being told that the MoD low flying area is 12,500 sq km and that Bullington Cross covers just 0.03% of this area (4.5 sq km).
  5. The turbines ‘might’ interfere with a weather radar 15km from the site.  This was despite the offer from the developer NOT to build the wind farm until this problem had been sorted out.
  6. The wind turbines ‘might spoil the view of a single listed house 3.9km from the site. This was despite being shown pictures that the turbines would be specks on the horizon at that distance.

Martin Heath a Director of Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-op said “Clearly this is a great disappointment to us and to the many volunteers that helped us out over the past 13 months. A lot of hard work has been put into getting a community ownership of the wind farm; many more people supported the wind farm than opposed it; but still our councillors don’t get it.  The biggest danger to us, our ecology and our wildlife is global warming.  Somehow our councillors think it is wind farms that are dangerous!”

Martin also thanked all those that came along to the council meeting; demonstrated outside and spoke-up at the meeting.  He said “It was heart-warming to see all those local people stand-up in front of the councils and so passionately describe their support for community wind farms.  It was equally disappointing when a majority of our elected representatives decided to ignore them.”

He continued “But this is only the beginning of our ambitions for community ownership of renewable energy in Hampshire. We will be encouraging EDF-ER to appeal against the decision;  we  are discussing a project to install a large solar system on the roof of a local college; and we are looking at other wind farm sites and at using waste to produce electricity”.

He also added “Many thanks to those councillors who listened to their voters; understood that the benefits outweighed the costs and voted for the wind farm”.

Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-op is owned by members of the local community. They plan to invest in renewable energy projects such as Bullington Cross. All the profits made will be re-invested in other community energy schemes in Hampshire and in helping reduce fuel poverty within the community. END

Massive local support for our wind farm

Map

We have had over 2,800 local people send emails or write to their local council supporting our plans for a community owned wind farm.  Its a great achievement, and we think we are one of the most supported pre-planning wind farms in the UK.

As a community group, it is important we engage with the local communities that will be living close to our projects. So we decided to put together a map of where our supporters live to find out if we are doing that.

The results are impressive; around 70% of our supporters all live within 12.5 miles of the wind farm; with a large number living in local villages such as Overton, Sutton Scotney, Whitchurch and Wonston.

Martin Heath, one of our Directors says “We have been overwhelmed by the level of support local people have given us.  When we started out we thought 500 letters of support would be a major achievement. To get nearly 3,000 really shows the depth of support there is for community renewable energy in Hampshire”.

We analysed all 2,845 individual responses.  2,430 people included a postcode with 2,141 supporters (88%) living in Hampshire and 1,627 (68%) living within 12.5 miles (20kms) of the site.

Global warming, fossil fuel dependence and  fuel price rises are national issues so there in no surprise that there were a further 289 (12%) signatures coming from as far apart as Wiltshire, Berkshire and Northern Ireland.

The results of our petition show that the local community in and around Bullington Cross want a wind farm and they want it to be community owned.

Of course, we hope that the councillors from Winchester, Basingstoke and Deane, and Test Valley will take note of the massive level of support when they meet to decide the future of the project on June 16th at the Winchester Guildhall.

It’s not too late to influence their decision. Write to your councillor to tell them you want a wind farm. Also come along to the planning decision on the 16th and support your community wind farm, in a gathering  outside the guild hall in Winchester.

‘P-day’ is here

Power to the People (lowres)

The date for a planning decision has been set. June 16th is the date for your diaries, when councillors will decide the future of our community owned wind farm.

Meetings begin in the Bapsy Hall, in Winchester Guildhall at 10am on the day. Supporters and members of HREC will be there from 9.30 am welcoming the arriving councillors and committee members with a show of support for the wind farm.

Councillors will then hear arguments from objectors and supporters throughout the day, before making a decision that afternoon.

The future of the wind farm hangs in the balance. We need you to come down and give one final show of support to make sure the councillors know we want a community owned wind farm in Hampshire.

We also need to you to write a letter to your local councillor letting them know in person you support the plans.

If you want to do more, why not speak as a supporter at the hearing on the 16th? We need local residents that feel passionately about a community owned wind farm to speak for a few minutes on the day. Contact us at info@hampshire-energy.coop to let us know you are interested.

Thanks for all your help getting us to this point. It’s been a great many months raising support and meeting some interesting people on the way. Let’s make it count and ensure the councillors say “yes” on June 16th.