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

We think this is outrageous – do you?

You might have not heard; but our three local councils have all decided to ban our planned community wind farm at Bullington Cross.  This is in despite of over 2,800 of us writing or emailing the planners saying we support community owned wind farms.  We think this is outrageous. Next year is election year.  The only thing that keeps our elected officials on their toes is votes.  It seems there is little else they care about.

So yet again it looks like it’s time to put pen to paper (and fingers to keyboard) and write to your councillor; this time to tell them how disappointed you are by the council’s refusal of the wind farm. We should also start letting our MPs know as well.

I know we have all written to them before; and some might be saying “Is it worth it?”.  Yes it is. We made tremendous progress over the last 6 months. In Basingstoke we got 5 out of the 12 councillors to vote for the wind farm; in Test Valley it was 4.  Clearly there is something wrong in Winchester where only 1 of the councillors could be bothered to vote in favour. But this is much more than ever before.  Another few councillors on our side and we might get our next planning application accepted.

As always, we have provided some inspiration as to what to write below, as well who to send it to once you are finished. But remember, not all the councillors voted against the wind farm, if you want to congratulate the councillors that voted in favour we have highlighted their names below. A full list of all Councillors on the planning committee is here.

Thanks to everyone for their help and support. Although the planning decision has past, we need to keep the momentum up. After all, we are building a community energy revolution not just a wind farm.

Suggested text

Dear Councillor,

Re: Bullington Cross Wind Farm Planning Application.

I am a supporter of community ownership of the wind farm at Bullington Cross. I have been following the developments of the planning application for this wind farm with great interest and am disappointed to discover that proposal for the development was rejected by you at the committee meeting on 16th June 2014.

You would have heard the arguments for and against; but I want you to explain to me why you voted to ban a community owned wind farm. 

If you want my vote for either yourself, or your party, at the next election, you are going to have to convince me that you (and your party) are serious about reducing global warming and that you support community ownership of renewable energy.

I look forward to your explanation for your vote and to hearing what you are going to do to address the threat of even greater global warming.

Yours sincerely

 

If you want some ideas for additional paragraphs to add in here are some;

Any large scale development of this nature will of course impact upon the landscape and the people close to its location. In these circumstances the correct decision is one which fairly balances the costs and benefits of its construction.

The benefits of the wind farm outweighed the costs. These include –

  • Generation of over £4 million through a community, co-operative ownership scheme which would be used to fund additional community energy projects and tackle fuel poverty in Hampshire.
  • A step towards de-centralisation of energy production in Hampshire. A process that places communities in charge of their energy production and creates a more equitable and beneficial energy market for consumers.
  • Reduction of Hampshire Carbon Dioxide emissions by 26,000 tonnes annually, an amount equivalent to the removal of 9,000 cars from Hampshire’s roads.
  • Increased resilience of Hampshire’s energy network and a reduction in the £1 billion the three districts spend on imported fossil fuels annually.
  • Generation of around £3.5 million through a community benefit scheme funded by the applicant, EDF.
  • Generation of around £5 million in additional rates for the three councils.

Climate change is a reality; one that not only affects those in distant places but us in Hampshire also. We must take responsibility for our own energy production in the county. We must do this to reduce the environmental impact of the energy we use. We must do this to secure a more equitable energy market for consumers by placing them in charge of production. We must do this for a better future for ourselves and our children.

I am particularly disappointed by the decision of the council and hope it is one they will not repeat in the future.

I will be intrigued to hear what steps our council will be taking to ensure they achieve sustainability targets in the future.

Below is the list of all the councillors that were in attendance and made a decision regarding the future of our wind farm. Simply find the right ward for you and send your email. Easy.

Title First Name Last Name Ward Email Vote
Cllr Laurence Ruffell Owslebury and Curdridge Ward lruffell@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Therese Evans Wickham tevans@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Richard Izard Colden Common and Twyford rizard@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Ernest Jeffs The Alresfords Ward ejeffs@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Robert Johnston Kings Worthy rjohnston@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr David McLean Bishops Waltham dmclean@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Frank Pearson Swanmore and Newtown Ward fpearson@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Michael Read Denmead mread@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Jane Rutter Kings Worthy jrutter@winchester.gov.uk Did not attend
Cllr Jamie Scott St Luke jscott@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Kim Gottlieb Itchen Valley Ward kgottlieb@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Brian Laming Oliver’s Battery and Badger Farm blaming@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Barry Lipscom Wonston and Micheldever Ward blipscomb@winchester.gov.uk Against
Cllr Sam Newman-McKie Whiteley snewmanmckie@winchester.gov.uk For
Cllr Donald Sherlock Kingsclere Cllr.Donald.Sherlock@basingstoke.gov.uk Against
Cllr Michael Bound Baughurst & Tadley North cllr.michael.bound@basingstoke.gov.uk For
Cllr Anne Court Kempshott cllr.anne.court@basingstoke.gov.uk Against
Cllr Eric Dunlop Whitchurch cllr.eric.dunlop@basingstoke.gov.uk Against
Cllr Jane Frankum Popley West cllr.jane.frankum@basingstoke.gov.uk For
Cllr Stuart Frost Oakley & North Waltham Cllr.Stuart.Frost@basingstoke.gov.uk Against
Cllr Sven Godesen Basing cllr.sven.godesen@basingstoke.gov.uk Against
Cllr George Hood Norden cllr.george.hood@basingstoke.gov.uk For
Cllr David Potter Popley East Cllr.David.Potter@basingstoke.gov.uk For
Cllr Diane Taylor Oakley & North Waltham cllr.diane.taylor@basingstoke.gov.uk Against
Cllr Chris Tomblin Bramley & Sherfield Cllr.Chris.Tomblin@basingstoke.gov.uk Did not attend
Cllr Marilyn Tucker Pamber & Silchester cllr.marilyn.tucker@basingstoke.gov.uk Against
Cllr Martin Biermann Chineham Cllr.martin.biermann@basingstoke.gov.uk For
cllr Zilliah Brooks Millway cllrzbrooks@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Maureen Flood Anna cllrmflood@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Iris Andersen St.Mary’s cllriandersen@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Katherine Bird St.Mary’s cllrkbird@testvalley.gov.uk FOR
cllr Carl Borg-Neal Harroway cllrcborg-neal@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Peter Boulton Broughton and Stockbridge cllrpboulton@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Alexander Brook Alamein cllrabrook@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Jan Budzynski Winton cllrjbudzynski@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Daniel Busk Broughton and Stockbridge Cllrdbusk@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Ian Carr Charlton cllricarr@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Eleanor Charnley Penton Bellinger cllrecharnley@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Clive Collier Abbey cllrccollier@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Benjam Few Brown Amport cllrbfewbrown@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Peter Giddings Bourne Valley cllrpgiddings@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Karen Hamilton Harroway cllrkhamilton@testvalley.gov.uk FOR
cllr Sandra Hawke Millway cllrshawke@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Anthony  Hope Over Wallop cllrahope@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Phillip Lashbrook Penton Bellinger cllrplashbrook@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Nigel Long St.Mary’s cllrnlong@testvalley.gov.uk FOR
cllr Jan Lovell Winton cllrjlovell@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Christopher Lynn Winton cllrclynn@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr James Neal Harewood cllrjneal@testvalley.gov.uk AGAINST
cllr Phillip North Alamein cllrpnorth@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Brian Page Harroway cllrbpage@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Ian Robin Millway cllrirobin@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT
cllr Graham Stallard Anna cllrgstallard@testvalley.gov.uk FOR
cllr Janet Whiteley Alamein cllrjwhiteley@testvalley.gov.uk ABSENT

 

Thanks as always for your continued support.

HREC team

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.

 

 

 

Singing Skylarks on a Windy Day

Guest blog from Tara Bowers

 

Ok, I’ll fess up. I am a supporter of renewable energy – in fact I support all things eco, green, sustainable. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been brainwashed. For many years I have supported organic agriculture, I eat almost 100% organic food, I try not to buy anything imported from outside of Europe, I don’t buy anything made of synthetic materials and avoid plastic at all costs, I gave up my car 18 months ago, I hardly ever fly and I stopped using toiletries and household products containing chemicals about 15 years ago. Some people will say that makes me a weirdo – I prefer to view myself as eco conscious. I am concerned about the affect I have on the environment around me and ultimately I’d like to leave this planet in a better state than when I arrived on it. I know I’m not alone in this viewpoint. But for some sad reason I know also that I am in the minority.

I recently became a member of Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative, and when the opportunity to visit the Westmill Wind Farm recently arose, I jumped at the chance to tag along. Having only seen wind turbines from a distance until now, this visit to get ‘up close and personal’ was exciting and intriguing.

So many people object to wind farms because they are ‘noisy’ and they are ‘ugly’ or ‘spoil the view’ – I wanted to understand if these opinions could indeed be substantiated. Personally I think wind turbines are pretty elegant, in fact they are an amazing feat of technology – harnessing a free energy source and turning it into electricity to power our homes.

The ‘look’ of wind farms is subjective – what’s pretty to one person is ugly to another – after all ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is it not? Having lived in France for a number of years I have seen large numbers of  wind farms constructed over there, and I always found them to be very majestic and in a way fairly calming. I definitely prefer to pass a line of wind turbines than a power station and pylons. But days before the visit I was apprehensive – would I be disappointed? Would I sway to the NIMBYs point of view?….

 

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We approached the wind farm from Shrivenham. As we came over the top of the Ridgeway, there it was in all its glory. Five little white windmills in a patchwork of fields, hardly noticeable at all. “How can anyone object to that” I thought. We descended to Watchfield aiming to follow our nose to the wind farm – but there was one slight issue with this planned navigation. We could no longer see the wind farm! So much for spoiling the view – we couldn’t even see it! We wandered round various lanes trying to find the right road – still no sign of the turbines. Eventually we found it.

We parked at the entrance to the farm and I was instantly overwhelmed by the noise – the noise of the cars on the B road adjacent and the noise of the wind (it was a very windy day). We were a few hundred metres from the turbines at this point and we could not hear them.

We set off with our guide towards the turbines and about 100 metres from them, all I could hear was the hum of the road, the wind blowing in my ears and the beautiful song of the skylarks nesting in the surrounding fields.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen and heard so many skylarks in one place. It was so calm and peaceful, how we could we possibly be standing right next to a power station? In the hour or so that we wandered round the site we saw Red Kites, Lapwings and Buzzards too. The birds were clearly not at all disturbed by the turbines.

I’d been told before the visit that the turbines make a ‘swishing’ sound – similar to a tumble dryer apparently. But I have to tell you that is not quite accurate. They are quieter than a tumble dryer. We stood under the turbines, directly underneath, and yes there was noise – but not enough to drown out the voice of our guide and not enough to drown out the beautiful singing of the Skylarks.

Just yesterday I was sat outside talking to a friend when a motorbike engine started up and sat idling for a few minutes – we could not hear ourselves above the noise of the motorbike. So can those who criticise wind farms as being noisy be believed – in my opinion NO. Wind farms are as quiet, if not quieter, than any cul de sac in Great Britain.

“What a beautiful place for an electricity generating station!” one person was heard to say, and I have to agree.

There is no way on this earth that you could justify fracking on this site, or building a coal/ gas / nuclear power station here. Its far too lovely for that.

DSC_0106

 

But by harnessing nature the Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative has been able to create their own power station with five unobtrusive wind mills.

So could I ever be a NIMBY – definitely not when it comes to wind turbines – I’d happily have one of those in my back garden, especially if it was delivered with singing Skylarks!

 

Here’s what else I learned on the visit:

The farm where the wind farm is situated is poor quality land – it is a former airfield and the turbines are actually sited on a former runway. It is also one of the most exposed and windiest places in Oxfordshire.

The turbines are fully recyclable and therefore at the end of their life they will be removed, recycled and the site could easily be re-used for newer more advanced wind or solar technology.

Not only a haven for birds this farm was also full of all manner of wild flowers and insects.

The local gliding club originally objected to the wind farm but have since officially written to the Wind Farm Co-operative stating that the turbines are their best and most reliable wind indicator!

The site is run by a Co-operative of 2500 investors, mostly local people.

Profits from the wind farm have been used to set up WESET, which runs educational activities at the site and in the local area. They hold open days every 2 years, and regularly run school camps with workshops at the site. They also funded insulation and solar panels for Watchfield Village Hall, solar panels for Watchfield school and are in the process of funding insulation for Shrivenham Village Hall.

 

If you ever get the opportunity to visit this or any other wind farm, I urge you to go. Even the already converted like me can be pleasantly surprised!

 

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You can see photographs from the visit on our Pinterest board and on our Facebook page.

Invitation to Westmill Wind Farm Visit

Members and Supporters of Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative are invited to join us for a visit to Westmill Wind Farm on Saturday 12th April.

We would be delighted if you could join us to visit the 100% community owned Westmill, a Wind Farm Co-operative in Wiltshire, which produces electricity for 4,000 homes and generating £1 million annually.

Recently, we have invited councillors from Test Valley Borough Council, Basingstoke and Deane Council and Winchester City Council to visit the site and experience the reality of a wind farm, witnessing for themselves

If you’d like to make a booking for the visit on Saturday 12th April at 11am, please email alan.walker@hampshire-energy.coop