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Where have all the fields gone ?




mummy fields

Food not Fuel

At last a hint of sanity may be appearing  according to  YAHOO


* Deal fixes 7 percent limit for biofuels from food crops
* Still needs European Parliamentary approval
* New generation biofuels say they need more incentives (Adds reaction)
By Barbara Lewis
LUXEMBOURG, June 13 (Reuters) – EU energy ministers agreed on Friday to limit production of biofuels made from food crops, responding to criticism they stoke inflation and do more environmental harm than good.
The ministers’ endorsement of a compromise deal overcomes a stalemate hit late last year, when European Union governments failed to agree on a proposed 5 percent cap on the use of biofuels based on crops such as maize or rapeseed.
Friday’s agreement would set a 7 percent limit on food-based biofuels in transport fuel.
It still needs the approval of the newly-elected European Parliament, expected to begin considering it later this year.
“We think this proposal is much better than nothing,” European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told the Luxembourg meeting of ministers.
“We need to support research and development in advanced biofuels so we can move forward from generation one into generation two and generation three,” he added, referring to more sophisticated biofuels that do not compete with growing crops for food.
The proposed 7 percent limit is part of a goal to get 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020.
Initially, the European Union backed biofuels to contribute to efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and EU dependence on imported oil and gas.
Research has since shown that making fuel out of crops such as maize displaces other crops, forces the clearing of valuable habitats, and can inflate food prices.
The next generation of advanced biofuels, made from waste or algae for example, does not raise the same problems, but does require more investment.
The compromise supported by ministers on Friday includes a 0.5 percent non-binding target for next-generation biofuels, which environment campaigners say is nowhere near enough to make a difference.
The agreement could mean that the overall goal to get 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020 is missed, analysts say. Currently around 5 percent of EU transport fuel comes from renewable sources.
Food-based bio-refiners, which have invested on the basis of the original 10 percent, say a lower target threatens jobs.
And those trying to develop advanced biofuels say they are not been given sufficient incentive.
Manuel Sanchez Ortega, CEO of Spanish renewable and engineering firm Abengoa SA (NasdaqGS: ABGB – news) told Reuters by telephone the deal was positive in that it reduced uncertainty, but Europe was in danger of being left behind.
“In the United States there has been a revolution (in second-generation ethanol),” he said. “To us it seems that Europe is acting timidly.”
Thomas Nagy, executive vice-president of Novozymes , which makes enzymes used in the production of advanced biofuels, said Friday’s decision enabled “a reboot of the decision-making process”.
However, he also said there was an “absence of incentives to allow the conventional biofuel industry to develop sustainably”. He urged the European Parliament to propose amendments when it resumes debate of the draft law. (Additional reporting by Sybille de la Hamaide in Paris and Jose Elias Rodriguez in Madrid; editing by James Macharia and Jason Neely)

BHEAG comment –  sustainability is KEY – northern hemisphere forests – the majority of the world’s carbon sinks  are being destroyed at an unprecedented rate.



Bradshaw turbine – appeal refused

The latest in the string of appeals regarding turbine applications in the Bolton area, has been rejected.  The planning inspectorate has consistently backed Bolton Planning committee in upholding the rights of residents.

The current decsions (which can be found 2209440 DECISION )  goes one step further and highlights an issued raised in so many of the applications

16 . However, as I have set out above another wind turbine has planning permission nearby, which could be constructed. The appellant’s noise assessment does not take account of the potential combined effect of the 2 wind turbines operating at the same time. Without this information it is not possible to determine whether the proposal would result in unacceptable cumulative noise levels for local residents. Moreover, this matter cannot be dealt with by planning conditions because it is not clear whether the
recommended noise levels could be met. Consequently, such an approach would conflict with the advice on planning conditions in the PPG. In the absence of this information the proposal would conflict with the advice in ETSUR- 97 and this weighs heavily against the proposal

Similarly the comment  “Whether the harm by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations, so as to amount to the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development” must send a clear message to planning committee members that a new property simply  being of exceptional design cannot possibly meet this requirement -it just minimises the harm.


Thoughts for 2014

If you are over 45 – the world population has doubled in your lifetime.In 1968 the world population was 3.5 billion – today it exceeds 7.2 billion. It grows by over 200,000 daily.

The first photograph was taken in 1826. It is estimated that approximately 880 billion photographs will be taken in 2014.   10% of all the photographs ever taken were taken in the last twelve months.

In less than 70 years mankind learnt how to fly and landed a man on the moon.

There are whales alive today – that were alive before Moby Dick was written

Oxford university is older than the Aztecs







Birches farm turbine refused – monster on the moors

“There are not exceptional circumstances for this development, so it’s a lump of steel in the green belt.”

- 132 (genuine local) objections as well as three local MPs and five councillors, against 300 letters in support – how much has this cost the Bolton council tax payer – again !!!!!

The application is refused by a majority with Cllr Peel – who once seemed to liken the situation to a football match,  stating that such an important local issue should be dealt with on a national basis – so much for local democracy. The score now 8-0 ?

Whilst there is a national energy issue, there is no need to sacrifice the legal rights of constituents, in order to try to resolve it.

All the applications , which have been refused by planning committee have gone to appeal – and the planning inspector has upheld the original decision of the planning committee  in 100% of cases. .

The turbine debate has been unpleasant and costly  in Bolton , for applicants, councillors, planning officers and residents. No doubt this refusal will go to appeal. Thus far the legal position has been clearly in the favour of residents, and the preservation of our greenbelt, rather than applicants.

The green belt is special and it is important that it is preserved -a few groups around Bolton have helped ensure its future – at least for a little while longer – these groups are extremely grateful for the support of the majority of councillors from all sides.


Birch Farm Appeal Withdrawn (update 2)

Birch Farm turbine appeal has now been withdrawn.

A new application, for the removal of two smaller turbines and erection of a 67 meter turbine has now been received.

This will now be considered at planning committee  06 March. The planning officer is reccomending refusal

At this time residents groups, including BHEAG, have been fully supported by Bolton Planning Commitee and not a single turbine  decision has been over turned by the inspectorate.


Douglas Valley Turbine Appeal – Dismissed

The appeal has been dismissed due to the harm to the outlook of neighbours and also the harm to the greenbelt
“However, the Written Ministerial Statement of 10 October 2013 makes the
point that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override
environmental protection and stresses that sufficient weight should be given to
environmental considerations such as local amenity. In this instance I give
substantial weight to the harm that the proposed turbine would cause to the
outlook of neighbouring residents. I also give substantial weight to the harm
that the proposed turbine would cause to the Green Belt by reason of its
inappropriateness and to the harm, albeit slight, that it would cause to
The decision can be found here

Bye bye 2013

As we leave 2013 behind us the appeal for the Douglas Valley turbine has not yet been decided and Armstrong’s have suffered yet another fire at the Horwich recycling plant

Over the other-side the Birches farm appeal has yet to be considered, with both the applicant and Bolton council objecting to the way the appeal has been handled. The Bury MP – David Nuttall has written to the secretary of state with concerns in the opposite direction – highlighting residents concerns and as a result the application has been called in, to be determined by the Secretary of State. For good measure the applicant has submitted a new application for an even larger turbine, proposing to dismantle the two already present.

Over at Slack lane the applicant has requested an application called in and determined by the Secretary of State- which seems rather strange as the required information to determine the application was clearly not present – unless the strategy was to prevent community involvement – which also seems strange  as the secretary of state has emphasised the important of this.

The focus on off shore wind farm was then dealt a massive blow as  billions of pounds of investment are shelved and two power houses reduce their plans for off shore wind farms due to “market conditions”  as  Ed Milliband proposes to freeze energy bills for 20 months – which seems to mean that market forces and exchange rates will be ignored or there needs to be a massive price increase to provide for the contingency.

Biofuelwatch have issued a new report on the devastation being caused by the UK policy on commercial biomass  -Biomass – The chain of destruction

UK companies have now announced plans to burn 82 million tonnes of biomass (mainly wood ) in power stations each year – more than 8 times the UK’s annual wood production. – the UK already relies on 80% net wood imports. the land grab in Brazil for eucalyptus plantings  is resulting in the loss of forest eco systems.

Meanwhile 2Oc have signed a 20 year deal with Thames water – worth over £200M  and construction has started on the  CHP plant at Beckton

One thing is clear – the lights in the UK will go out in the next few years and the country is desperate for more generation capacity.  It is important that renewable energy, championed by the government, is not confused with sustainable energy. It is important that the implications of  loss of forest and land for  crops and food in order to grow fuel crops is considered.   It is equally important that there is an open debate about how we fuel the future – as the UK closes it coal plants -or converts them to forest destroying biomass plants it is estimated coal will not make a contribution to UK energy supply by 2030 –  This year it is estimated china burned 4 billion tonnes (that is 4,000,000,000 tonnes – )of coal   – realising about 70% of China’s power production. In the USA the figure is 35%.

- and then we import their products due to cheaper  production costs – what price our Planet ?

Happy New Year





The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Greenbelt is seeking responses from interested parties and groups about how Greenbelt land is protected and preserved for the future.
The group intends to publish a report on the basis of this evidence in Spring 2014, with oral evidence sessions also being held in the New Year.
In particular, the group would like to focus on issues including:
·         What has been the effect of the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies and the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in the context of the preservation of greenbelt land?
·         Which local councils are taking their obligations on greenbelt preservation seriously and which local councils are placing greenbelt land under threat?
·         What new policy ideas should be considered to increase greenbelt protection?
·         Should brownfield land in greenbelt areas have the same protection as Greenfield land in greenbelt areas?
·         How can we increase local community engagement in protecting the greenbelt?
·         How can it be made clearer to the media the important distinction between ‘greenfield’ land and ‘greenbelt’ land- with the importance of greenbelt being highlighted as separate from greenfield.
·         How do we balance the need to sustain the greenbelt with the need for sustainable communities?
·         Should certain areas of greenbelt land be given higher protection than other areas?
·         What should the greenbelt look like for the twenty first century?
Responses and submissions can be sent to or posted to APPG Greenbelt, Room 20, Norman Shaw North, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA.
Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2014.

Chadwick turbine appeal withdrawn

Just a few days after BHEAG was granted Rule 6 status, in the appeal , the appelants have withdrawn the appeal.

It is believed the reason for this is that the  turbines were simply to close to residential property – something we believe is reinforced by the recent planning guidance for renewable energy. The inspector specifically requested the various parties to consider the implications of the document.







Chadwick Appeal BHEAG awarded rule 6 status

For the second time in recent years – BHEAG has been granted rule six status at an appeal.

The main benefit is that BHEAG now have the same status as the other parties, and receive all the evidence before the inquiry beings. At the inquiry BHEAG can act as an advocate, cross-examine the other parties, as well as giving evidence-in-chief put witnesses up to support the  case. Rule 6 party is relatively uncommon – in no small part due to the massive workload.

In this way it ensures residents who are directly affected can have there concerns raised through the group and can in some way feel more equally represented – after all the applicants have their agent and legal representation and similarly the Council. At the previous inquiry where BHEAG were granted rule 6 , it enabled the inspector to ask some rather pertinent questions resulting in regulation 19 requests (ie there had been insufficient data to consider the application and ensure that the rights of the general public and residents were not compromised)




Douglas Valley Appeal

The Douglas Valley appeal -informal hearing went into a second day.

Having considered oral evidence and concerns from members of the public – the inspector ensured that each concern was considered on the site visits – which spanned the two days.

The site visits were aided by a blue flag on a 12m pole., at the location of the turbine. The inspector  appeared to concur that from Nightingale Road – the hub would be about level with the motorway and that the blades would “certainly” be  seen above the motorway.

The inspector also took time to visit the area at night – to see the effect of the floodlights. Despite the fact that the halogens were turned off and only five of the sodium lights were working, causing the area to be dimmer than is often the case, the inspector confirmed that from the Anderton side of the valley / Greenlands farm the turbine would be seen in-front of the flood lights.

The location and the height of the turbine,calculated from multiples of the flag pole,  seen from the Anderton side of the valley became a lot clearer, similarly the view from Chorley Road.

It is hoped that the final decision will be available before Christmas.

Meanwhile – on the other side of Bolton – the Birches Farm application has been called in by the Secretary of State – who issued new guidance in recent months that public opinion needed to be given weight in any decision process – criterion which will also apply to the appeal.






Douglas Valley Appeal

Following a full day , the inspector has decide that site visits are to roll over into a second day.

Interested parties , including the public are invited to meet at the Douglas Valley Golf course car park at 09.30

At this time it is expected that the appeal decision will be about six or eight weeks away.






Douglas Valley Hearing

The Hearing for this appeal will start at 10.00, on Wednesday 13 November 2013 at the Lancaster Suite, Bolton Town Hall, Victoria Square, Bolton, BL1 1SA
The public  are welcome to attend.
The time of the Site Visit will be arranged at the Hearing.

Planning Guidance for renewable and low carbon energy.

New guidance has been published which can be a materiual consideration in considering planning applications (and appeals) for renewable energy.

The document supports many of the points which have been made by BHEAG during various applications and appeals

The document can be found Planning Practice Guidance for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy