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MOOR HOUSE WIND FARM

Plaque

On 21-Oct-2009, Banks Developments submitted the planning application for its proposed Moor House Wind Farm.

The proposed Moor House Wind Farm

Important note:  This section attempts to give an overview of a planning application that is in a ring binder 2 inches thick and includes a 40-page Planning Statement, a 182-page Environmental Statement and six CD-ROMs.  If you would like to see the full details then you can view the planning application at Darlington Town Hall.  Sadberge residents can get a copy of (most of) the planning application on CD-ROM from Alastair Mackenzie (01325-333333).

The Moor House Wind Farm planning application is for 10 wind turbines plus an anemometer mast, a control building, access roads, crane pads and a temporary construction compound.

In looking for a suitable location for a wind farm, Banks Developments carried out a detailed "sieve mapping" analysis of the Borough of Darlington and concluded that the Moor House site is the best for a comercially viable wind farm.

Click on these links to see a location map and a layout diagram.  Excluding properties with a financial involvement in the proposed wind farm, the nearest 'un-involved' property is 520 metres from the Moor House site.
Note:  The nearest wind turbine (No. 9) would be almost exactly 2 km from the northern edge of Sadberge.

The proposed grid connection point is to the north-west of Moor House near Brafferton.

Six of the turbines would have a hub height of around 60 metres and a maximum height (to the blade tip) of 100 metres.  The other four turbines would have a hub height of around 70 metres and a maximum height of 110 metres.

The wind farm would have an installed generating capacity of between 20 MW and 25 MW.  The planning application points out that the North East Renewable Strategy sets a target for the Tees Valley to have 138 MW of renewable generation capacity by 2010, and that there is currently only 38.5 MW of renewable generation capacity in the Tees Valley.  (Note: The Government has stipulated that off-shore wind farms will not count towards regional targets for renewable generation.)

If the wind turbines achieve a 30% capacity factor then the Moor House Wind Farm would provide sufficent renewable electricity to supply between 11,000 and 14,00 households, which is equivalent to 24% - 30% of the households in the Borough of Darlington.
Note:  A study of 81 on-shore wind farms in England showed that in 2007 only 11 (i.e. 13.6%) achieved a capacity factor of 30% or above.  However, the planning application says that on-site wind speed monitoring indicates that 30% is a conservative capacity factor assumption for the Moor House Wind Farm.

At the end of an extensive review of National, Regional and Local planning policies, the planning application concludes that the proposed Moor House Wind Farm is "an ideal candidate for contributing to renewable energy targets whilst complying with planning policy requirements".

Construction and commissioning activities would be scheduled to take ten months.

A noise assessment using the methodology specified in the Government's guidelines (ETSU-R-97) has shown that the predicted noise levels at nearby properties will meet the criteria specified in ETSU-R-97.  The assessment involved monitoring the current background noise at seven properties at distances ranging from 410 metres to 1225 metres from the nearest turbine.

In its response to the scoping document, the MOD indicated that it has no objection to the Moor House Wind Farm.  Neither the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) nor the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) raised any objections at the scoping stage.  Durham Tees Valley Airport raised concerns about the potential impact on (a) its protected airspace and (b) radar operation.  The first concern has been addressed by reducing the size of the turbines.  Banks Developments is continuing to discuss the radar issue with the Airport.

Further information will appear here soon, including:-

Issues for Sadberge

Particular issues for Sadberge residents are visual impact and noise.

Arup's Addendum to its Landscape Capacity Studies report rates Moor House Wind Farm's potential visual impact on Sadberge as Severe (which is the worst category of impact) and says that "the level of development proposed at Moor House exceeds the capacity of the landscape".

'Ordinary' wind turbine noise from Moor House should not affect Sadberge, but there is a phenomenon called aerodynamic modulation that causes wind farm noise to take on a loud, "thumping" character and to become audible over a considerable distance.

Aerodynamic modulation is rare in the UK, but if it occurs then it could certainly cause problems for Sadberge.  The Government's recommended noise monitoring regime – specified in ETSU-R-97 – is completely ineffective in protecting residents from aerodynamic modulation noise.

Use these links to access documents (in PDF format) giving a overview of the issue of aerodynamic modulation and a description of a Dutch physicist's explanation of the probable cause of aerodynamic modulation.


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