UK trees spark wind turbine wrangle

We all know we’re going to see many more of these stories – I told you about Neighbors in conflict over solar panels about a month ago. Now we have a couple of neighbors over in the UK fighting it out over a wind turbine and, as the wind turbine owner puts it, the “small forest” of fast grwing trees that his neighbor put up after he received zoning clearance for the turbine. According to the story in the Wisbech Standard, Doug Fullbrook applied to the Fenland District Council for permission to build the 15 meter high turbine and was given the go-ahead one year ago. There was only one objection – Mr. Fullbrook’s neighbor, Claire Simpson. Mrs. Simpson has just planted 50 fast growing trees right on the boundary and immediately in front of the turbine. While still small, these trees will grow to 30 meters in height, which Mr. Fullbrook claims will cut the wind hitting his turbine. Mr. Fullbrook says that he would have made accomodations – “She is just being childish and if they had been open with me in the first place we could have discussed it and I probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with the turbine or I would have sited it in a different place.”

Mr. Fullbrook is asking for help in getting laws granted to prevent things like this happening in the future. He’s upset because he went thru the planning process as is currently required by law. He said: “As I see it, the big issue is the current lack of planning legislation controlling the indiscriminate planting of trees without regard to the eventual impact on neighbours and infrastructure such as wind turbines.

“I had to go through the planning process to erect the wind turbine which has a finite shape/size and life of about 25 years. Trees, however, and particularly a small forest on your boundary, can grow to heights of 30 metres blocking the light and views, casting long shadows, and blocking the wind to wind turbines.”

The turbine feeds its power directly into the national grid. Mr. Fullbrook also received a government grant of £5,000 which offset the £21,000 total cost of the system.

So what’s going to happen? Mr. Fullbrook is considering just raising the height of the turbine as the trees get bigger.

wind turbine blocked by trees
Doug Fullbrook surveys the fast-growing trees that, he says, will reduce the power porduced by his wind turbine.
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