Crown Spa Hotel refused planning permission for wind turbines

Today (12th January 2012) the Crown Spa Hotel’s dream of installing 16 wind turbines on the roof of a Grade II listed building, was refused at a Planning and Development Committee Meeting held at Westborough Methodist Church, Westborough, Scarborough, even though 24 individuals publically supported the application, while only 10 individuals were against it.

David Frank Director said “Though we disagree with the judgement, we will accept and respect the planning officers’ and the democratically elected Councillors’ independent opinion. This is merely a setback in our quest to have greater energy efficiency, thereby reducing energy costs and our impact on the environment. Overall we have learnt a lot from this particular planning application process. The contemporary and elegant blade design of these Pramac wind turbines will add to the building in fusing the past with the future, whilst helping to bring awareness to some of the energy supply issues our children will have to deal with.”

Mr Frank added “We are simply back to the drawing board for a solution, which is more acceptable to the Scarborough Civic Society, English Heritage and the planning and Development Committee”

Modern sub 10KW Wind Turbines are different to the large turbines

One issue the Crown Spa management team felt they came up against was a lack of awareness of existing wind turbine technology, particularly turbines below 10KW.

During the planning process a number of issues were raised from individuals and English Heritage, which has made a number of assertions as to vibration, weight and noise without undertaking any research of modern gearless turbines.

  • Vibration in a wind turbine can damage the wine turbine itself; modern turbines have vibration sensors with safety cut outs if vibration levels exceed a very small threshold i.e. they turn themselves off if they get wobbly. Modern gearless turbines have virtually no vibration as there is virtually no contact between the moving parts.
  • Weight the hotel recently built 24 rooms on the roof of the building using a steal structure. The weight of these turbines are 65kg for the turbine and 35kg for all fittings each, total extra weight is around 1600kg, equivalent to a Ford Focus with 3 passengers, the hotels advisors have informed them that this is well within the design parameters of the construction allowing for the additional wind pressure.
  • Noise for the Pramac Turbines that were going to be used is 52dB at 4 metres; 52dB is equivalent to a Quiet suburb or a conversation at home add to this on surrounding noise levels (wind, cars waves etc..) these units will be hardly noticeable for neighbours or from the ground. Sound intensity follows the inverse-square law, for example in the 50dB is 1/4 as loud as 70db (an Office environment) at 4 metres and for each doubling of distance from a sound source dB is reduced by roughly 6db. In fact the latest model of wind turbine the management team have seen has a sound rating of 38db at 4metres (equivalent to a quiet library).
  • English heritage said that the Crown Spa have already met the EU target requirements; in response David Frank Responded “the problem is most scientists and economists in the field think the targets are far too low, and greater measures need to be taken. what we need to appreciate is that these European rules predominantly pushed through by Germany and France are nations which were already better prepared when the targets were set. Germany with 40% renewable energy production and France (where you are no further than 55 miles from a Nuclear power station), will be sitting pretty when oil prices rise. Unfortunately, we as a nation are not as prepared as we should be, for a developed nation.
  • English Heritage in their objection mentioned lack of public benefit to which the Crown Spa team strongly feel that apart from bring greater public awareness of the benefits of wind energy; they felt the need to point out that the earth is a finite size with finite resources, oil will not be plentiful or cheap in the next 10 years, and therefore businesses must plan now, while energy costs are relatively cheap. – If this is not in the public interest what is?

Mr Frank added “Basically, I strongly feel that if we as a nation can reduce our reliance on oil, then that will mean less chance of your daughter; your son, being sent off to a distance country to die, or be maimed and mentally scarred, just so our nation can have a stable oil supply. We as a nation were in Iraq for oil! Not principles. We are in Afghanistan in order to stabilise the countries surrounding it, in order to stabilise oil flow – History has generally shown that nations go to war for resources, not principles.”

“Further, overall renewables and nuclear (thorium, and slow burn) though expensive in the short term will be far cheaper in the long run, by reducing our reliance on oil now, then when oil does become more expensive , we will be far more competitive than other nations who have not prepared properly.”

Is the future in the wind?

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