ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON THE GREENBELT: CALL FOR EVIDENCE

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 appggreenbelt@gmail.com or posted to APPG Greenbelt, Room 20, Norman Shaw North, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA.
Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2014.

Fox are back – Bolton Road – Adlington

Plans have been re submitted by fox for the development of Land Surrounding Huyton Terrace Previously Baly Place Farm Bolton Road Adlington Lancashire.
They have submitted their revised plans for the housing development of 170 houses and demolition of No 74 and 76 Bolton Road to make way for the estate entrance, click on the link below. The site is now further away from the Blackrod border.

This is in addition to c 50 houses already approved along side the railway

Dont forget – if you submitted an comment regarding the previous application – this does not count towards this application ie you will need to make a new comment submission

12/00741/OUTMAJ

More details to follow

80m TURBINE: LAND TO THE EAST OF WALKER FOLD ROAD, BOLTON, BL1 7PU – Bottom of th’ Moor and more “Restoration”

They keep getting bigger

This one is 79.6m to the tip ( hub height 55,.6m) Planning application 88335/12
No further information is available on line at this time.

It is however understood that the turbine is very close to livery stables.

Horwich Parkway……… .24.8m ……….. in situ
matchmoor ……….. 34.2m …………. refused – appealed
Douglas Valley ……….. 45 m ………… refused – appealed
Chadwick ……….. 3 x 66m …………. refused (appeal and re-submission expected)
Birches Farm…………. 66m ………….. being considered 19 July 2012 (public invited) – bigger turbine application expected
Walker Fold ……….. 79.6m ………….. application received

With the exception of Horwich Parkway (Which we believe fails to meet statutory guidlines due to proximity to the rail line) all these turbines are within 500m of residential property.

Meanwhile 88209/12 | RESTORATION OF LAND BY IMPORTING SUB-SOILS AND INERT MATERIALS (TO ALLOW FUTURE USE FOR AGRICULTURE AND GRAZING OF LIVESTOCK) | LAND AT HORWICH MOOR FARM, MATCHMOOR LANE, HORWICH, BOLTON, BL6 6PR

The application which would see materials being tipped onto this site of Biological Importance. It could also mean even more lorries going up and down Church Street past the school with this waste material.

The Council’s Greenspace officer and an officer from the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit have already written in to recommend refusal.

Link to application is here

Extra support for BHEAG – and the Community

BHEAG with a small army of helpers, sometimes including the local youth group, have helped maintain and improve the appearance of Blackrod Cemetery, co-operating with Bolton Council, over the last years. Now, after nearly two years of requests the community pay back scheme have added their support.
A campaign is also currently in its infancy to fully restore the cemetery chapel.
The previously neglected rose garden, near to Vicarage Road has also been replanted – sponsored by BHEAG , with the support of local residents ( and their spades) and Age Concern. Polyanthus are currently in bloom, with nearly three dozen new rose bushes, already planted.
In this jubilee year the red, white and blue display of petunias will also add a little colour in the village.

We are often asked how many members are there in BHEAG. There are probably no more than a few dozen people at the core – all with the wider community at heart. At times when public meetings however, it is not uncommon for several hundred people to attend.

When BHEAG have spoken to local schools about the environment – it has become abundantly clear that the thing that the children most love about Blackrod and Horwich is the amazing countryside and the openess which surrounds our community. It is this countryside and openess which often attracts people to this area.

It is also this countryside, with its low population densitity, which can provide very attractive to certain businesses.

Occassionally BHEAG are asked by residents to support them in opposing planning applications, often we decline the invitation. BHEAG do not object to many planning applications. In fact we rarely object, we usually ask for information , which we believe to be omitted or highly misleading to be clarified – such as 2 meter high walls, in an open plan estate, being “in-keeping”. Potentially highly contaminated land being ignored and the cumulative impact of hundreds of HGVs passing through a small town centre, passing within a few feet of local schools being potentially ignored. More recently identifying possible multiple fraudulent support letters.

Occasionaly we change our view. Such a situation is wind turbines eg Douglas Valley or Chadwicks. What appear to be well located sites actually have a massive impact on a few residents, who we believe deserve the support of the whole community (and indeed would not be entertained by the councils that have quantifed the impact of wind turbines on distance to residential properties).

The poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

“First they came for the communists,

and I did not speak out

—because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I did not speak out

—because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews,

and I did not speak out

—because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me

—and there was no one left to speak out for me

With millions of pounds at stake,for the applicants and with various threats of litigation against individuals and the group, we are proud at our 100% record -in dealing with substantiated proven facts. We are also proud that we have been able to improve the appearance of a few areas in our town, whilst protecting others and it is great news that there is now further support from The Community Pay Back scheme

Bolton turbine refused permission

Bolton planning committee yesterday objected to a wind turbine at Matchmoor stables, Horwich. The proposed turbine would have a total height of 32 m , with a 25m mast. The nearest properties were c 200m away.
The turbine was significantly smaller that other turbines currently going through the planning system and somewhat less impactful on neighbouring properties.
In-line with some other authorities which have specific wind turbine policies,preventing a turbine over 25m within 400m (or even 600m) of residential properties the turbine was rejected by both Horwich Town Council and Bolton planning commitee. It is understood that the proposal was objected to by Lindsey Kell, Blackrod and Horwich Ward Councillor , and the Conservative and Liberal Parties and a few Labour members, making the vote 11 objections to 9 in favour
The reasons for the objection were proximity to residential properties and that the harm to the greenbelt would not be outweighed by the very special circumstances.
Again coucillors asked fo a wind turbine policy.
Bolton Council had been previously asked by planning committee to introduce a wind turbine policy. PPS22 states “Plans may include criteria that set out the minimum separation distances between different types of renewable energy projects and existing developments” New National policy guidlines allow communities to state where renewable energy developments should and should not be located. The local argument has shifted from whether turbines are beautiful or an eye sore , to the over bearing imapct they can have on residential homes if sited too close.
Applications at Birches Road, Turton (66m), Chadwick Farm, Horwich(66m) , and the pre consultation at Walker Fold Road, north of the Bolton Old Links Golf Course, Horwich (88m ) show an increasing trend of planning applications for bigger and bigger turbines in the area. All are within 400m of residential property.
Given this national concern regarding turbine proximity to habitation it will be a different debate if / when Bolton Council pursue their ambition of erecting several large tubines on the Red Moss SSSI

The Bolton News ran a poll suggesting that 80% of people are in agreement with BHEAG – that more turbines sould be allowed in the Bolton Borough.

New Planning Guidlines Published

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/2115939.pdf

 

New National Policy Guidlines have been published today.  There will be a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

According to the BBC Council policies” must encourage brownfield sites to be brought back into use – and allowed them to protect back gardens, while ensuring that “playing fields continued to benefit from the same protection that they do currently”.

 

It also allow communities to specify where renewable energy sources such as wind farms should, and should not, be located.

Similarly greenbelt appears to have the same protection previously afforded

Reaction has been mixed

 

 

 

Montcliffe Extension Approved

The application to extend quarrying at Montcliffe for another eight years has been approved – as expected.
The overall impact of the three quarries has been limited by a unilateral agreement, negotiated by several local groups – in particular limiting overall HGV movements.

BHEAG believe that the original permissions and restoration were given on the basis that no material would be imported for restoration. It is believed the current wording may allow the importation of over one million tonnes of construction and demolition waste.

Cllr Richard Silvester spoke against the plans on behalf of Horwich residents and pointed out that a number of residents and Horwich Town Council had not withdrawn their opposition to the plans

Blackrod and Horwich Wind Farm (s) including Red Moss

The valley between Blackrod and Horwich looks set to become an endless valley of wind turbines and power plants

The latest development is that a wind farm is proposed on Red Moss – a Site of Special Scientific Interest – of European significance. It is understood the turbines will be operated by Coriolis Energy Ltd. It is understood the number of proposed turbines has been reduced but the Bolton News reports a planning application for five or six turbines is likelym, we believe they will be in the size range of 66m to 100m to blade tip – although up to 160m is possible
This is in addition to turbines at Chadwick Farm (3x66m to tip) and Douglas Valley Golf Course (45m to tip). Both locations are within a few hundred meters of residential properties. A biomass plant has already been approved (and building works started) at Markland Farm / Douglas Valley Golf Course.
The turbine at douglas Valley may affect the television recpetion of over 8000 people . It is not know n how many Chadwick farm will affect

Bolton Council does not appear to have a developed wind turbine strategy.

Local Government Improvement and Development -designated areas and approximate setbacks states that “Designated nature conservation areas should be avoided, and a setback distance from the boundary of the designated area may be recommended by ecologists ”
It also states A setback distance of at least 600 – 800 metres from residential properties for large wind turbines. This may be reduced for smaller projects.
Ofcom avises a minimum seperation distance of at least 500m to residential properties to a turbine.

Wherever a wind policy has been considerd – in depth – it appears highly likely that none of these developments would proceed.

http://www.idea.gov.uk

http://www.cherwell.gov.uk/media/pdf/b/7/Wind_Turbine_Guidance.pdf

http://www.torridge.gov.uk

http://cmis.milton-keynes.gov.uk/CmisWebPublic/Binary.ashx?Document=34232

The lack of a clear policy causes significant concern – particularly when the Council itself benefits from the lack of policy.

It is often said the green spaces around Bolton are what attracts new residents. This looks set to change.

Douglas Valley Turbines – now only one turbine ! UPDATED

It would appear that the application has now been ammended to only one turbine – due to the presence of a gas line.

It is our understanding that the only turbine now being applied for is turbine 1, closest to the golf house. This turbine also appears to have moved again – although this is not clear. UPDATE : turbine 1 has not moved.
There are currently several objections or requests for deferment :

NERL – air traffic control
MOD –
Joint Radio Company

Ofcom also needs to be consulted

The site also requires a bat survey to be completed prior to any permission being granted.

Residents have asked for a deferral to ensure an appropriate noise assesment can be completed

It is further a matter of law and good practice that the base line should include any developments for which permission has already been granted – ie the biomass plant. It would therefore be incorrect to assume that the turbine will offset carbon usage on the site.

Whilst it seems likely the application will be deferred it is still for the planning committee to decide

Blind as a Bat – Daft as a Brush

Ask most people what they think of renewable energy and generally they will respond positively.
Most people however also confuse the terminology with environmentally friendly or sustainable energy which can be something quite different.
The looming shortage of electricty generation, together with a UK commitment to produce 25% of energy from renenewable energy sources by 2025 has helped drive up domestic energy prices as the government subsidises and incentivises private renewable energy production.

What most people want is sensitive exploitation of renewable energy sources which are sustainable.

The use of biofuels causes problems in many areas of the world. Land clearance has caused many issues in the developing world. One clearance fire resulted in more CO2 emissions than the UK would produce in a single year. People lose their homes, their land their lives.
Food crops are replaced with energy crops and prices anre driven higher, leaving people to starve. Its a global economy, driven by supply and demand – where the rich win and the poor die.
Swaithes of rainforests are being deforested to grow palm oil – for burning. Increasing global CO2 production.
Are biofiels and renewable energy a good thing ? http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/

Hydro electric power accounts for nearly 20% of China’s power production. Recently Chinese officials staged a sudden about-face, acknowledging for the first time that the massive Three Georges hydroelectric dam, the world’s largest, sandwiched between breathtaking cliffs on the Yangtze River in central China, may be triggering landslides, altering entire ecosystems and causing other serious environmental problems—and, by extension, endangering the millions who live in its shadow. Three Georges Dam Is hydro electric a good thing ?

Last year, the world’s largest wood fueled biomass plant was approved – in the UK. If built it will use an estimated 60 million tonnes of wood a year – six times the UKs average wood production. The sad thing is that the wood that will be burned does not have to be replaced with new trees. Guess we will be importing even more wood and adding more to world CO2 levels. !The biggest threat to the Mountain Gorillas in the Congo – is the clearance of forest for charcoal production – a renewable energy source. Is renewable energy a good thing ?
Tilbury

Not all renewable energy projects are bad – to the contrary, but nor are they all good. The plan to use solar power, harnessed in the dessert, to supply 15% of Europes power by 2050 . That seems a much better idea than covering arable farmland with solar panels in the UK Desert power.
Admirably the UK leads the way with off shore wind farms but falls behind the curve in small scale domestic renewable energy projects – although these are now starting to have a benefit in the UK.

The UK government is encouraging small scale energy production, solar PV, wind power etc. Bolton’s core startegy encourages the use of CHP (Combined heat and Power) which can be over 90%efficient.
The largest biomass CHP for district heating plant is in Japan – 2MWe.
In Blackrod a plant twice this size has been approved at the Douglas Valley Golf Course, for district heating. It is estimated the plant will burn approximately 5% of the total wooded are in the North West of England each year – and produce enough electric for 11,000 houses and enough heat energy to heat the whole of Blackrod. Unfortunately the plant will only actually heat six houses, and it is likely the rest of the thermal energy will be wasted – possibly making it one of the least efficient CHP plants in the world – estimated at below 20% – wasting valuable energy resources.

The same site has also applied for two industrial wind turbines – despite guidance to the contrary unfortunately the proposed turbine tips will be within 50m of hedgerows and linear field structures. (In fact they are within a few meters). Why is this important ?
Some of Europe’s most endangered species – bats – use these linear structures as highways – they will virtually never fly accross an open field. Turbine blades have been responsible for many bat kills -it is unlawful to deliberately kill a bat – and contributory negligence by ignoring the guidelines is unlikely to provide a defence .

For those who would wish renewable energy at any cost – be careful what you wish for – dont be daft – think – sensitive exploitation of renewable energy sources which are sustainable.

Blind as Bat – Daft as a Brush

Energy efficiency is probably the best way we, as individuals can reduce the demand for energy and help achieve the 25% target. Many domestic energy suppliers now provide free roof insulation and free cavity wall insulation. If you havent yet gone down this route – or at least had a free consultation you to may be commiting an environmental crime. Please help Save the Planet – without costing the Earth.

Douglas Valley Turbine Update

The photographs below show the first photographic submission by the applicant, the latest submission by the applcant (both using a wide angle lens) and our interpretation – the latter using a 50mm lens and more correctly exposed, which is good practice when depicting visual impact. All are taken from approximately the same location. An actual WES turbine, in actual colours is shown in our interpretation) (It should be noted that we believe our interpretation still underestimates the impact, as the baloon, used to centre the turbine was not flying at a vertical height of 30m) Click on the images to see a larger view

At the same time the turbines have been getting quieter with the latest noise assement appears to claim that at 200m a turbine will be 37 dB, rather than the 45dB claimed on the manufacturers website.

To make matters worse, the site is approved for a biomass plant.Having stated “we have had no other option but to shelve this project for the time being”, around the 17 October 2011, within a month work had commenced on the plant.

It is good that people from outside the area are in favour of wind turbines, as are we. It is unlikely that they are aware of the impact of these specific turbines as it has been almost impossible to understand from the data which has been submitted.

Wind turbines are an excellent form of renewable energy. Some people do not like them spoiling the views in the countryside when out for a walk. This is considerably different from having one invading the privacy of your own home, either visually or with noise – particularly relevant to the proposed turbines at Douglas Valley given the topography of the land and the number of people directly affected.

There will be many more applications for turbines in the local area – it is only to be hoped that these will provide accurate and detailed informtion from the outset and that they will not effect so many residents on a personal basis – so that the whole community can embrace this technology.

Fields to be lost in houses plan

Residents of Blackrod and Horwich need only look to Adlington to see what may happen soon.
The green fields adjacent to Blackrod have been allocated 179 houses in Chorley’s draft allocation plan. A developer is likely to put in an application for 300 houses on the site within the next two weeks.
Planning approval has already been given for c 70 houses at the foot of the site, alongside the railway.
ie 370 houses – more than twice what was expected and even before the allocation plan is approved.

In Blackrod, it has been noted that the boundary of the Blackrod Industrial Estate, for infilling, also contains a number of greenbelt fields.

Please make your views known

Turbines Move – and so do the Planning Pages

The latest information on the Douglas Valley Golf Course Turbines, can be found

HERE

Groups Withdraw Montcliffe Objection

“As per the terms of the consent order dated 14 December 2011, I write to withdraw the objections made to the application (No. 86368/11) for the grant of permission in relation to Montcliffe Quarry, on my behalf and on behalf of BHEAG and RAGE (incorporating Arcon Village Residents’ Group, Montcliffe Residents’ Association and Horwich Moor Residents’ Association).”

Letter x

Statement

Marcus Simmons , spokesman for RAGE, and Martin Millmore of The Mineral Planning Group on behalf of Armstrongs Aggregates Limited have jointly issued the following statement.

We are pleased to report that the Judicial Review has been resolved via a legally binding agreement. The agreement will reduce the proposed HGV numbers for Montcliffe and Pilkington Quarries by 25% and there is a commitment on behalf of Armstrongs Aggregates to route HGVs away from the centre of Horwich during school drop off and pick up times. Armstrongs Aggregates have also agreed to provide to Bolton Council monitoring data regarding noise, dust and traffic levels, which Bolton will publish.

Armstrongs Aggregates and Bolton Council have also agreed to form an ongoing liaison group with residents, to enable residents to voice their concerns with the aim of ensuring that potential future disputes can be avoided. We see the agreement today as a positive step towards a new relationship between residents, the Council and Armstrongs Aggregates.

A Council spokesman added: “We are pleased that an agreement has been reached and the Council’s Planning Committee will be considering the Montcliffe planning application in due course.