Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cycling through the wind farm

After reading so many negative letters in the press about wind farms I thought I would double check things. I decided to cycle through the new Seamer/Hilton wind farm on cycle route 65, just a few miles away from Hemlington.
I was a beautiful, crisp day and I used the Teesvalley Cycle path map, got a little lost, but enjoyed going round Hemlington lake with the fishermen and dog walkers, past the schools and through the Stainton Way underpass – into another world. Thornton is a tiny village, with quaint cottages and ancient churches, the smell of cow muck and honeysuckle your in the countryside! Turning right I cycled on into Maltby with its village hall, pub and expensive houses. Then back into hedged country lanes. I caught sight of them first over the hedgerows, quite small and had to zoom my camera in to photograph them. When I got onto the Seamer–Hilton road, which is also route 65, I cycled right through the turbines and the line of pylons that were already there.  

At the time of writing Oct 2012 the turbines are built but not operational yet. Although one can be seen from Hilton village High street I did not find it intrusive.

Bankfields windfarm exhibition

Banks Developments held an exhibition in Guisborough for the Bankfields wind farm a proposed six wind turbine scheme, on the hill ridge to the north of Guisborough with the road carriageway between them. A terrace row of about 15 houses “Mount pleasant” is over a kilometre from one of the turbines looking out uphill over back yards, which also includes an existing line of pylons. This is not major.
5 farms would be situated down hill close to individual turbines in the 600-800m range, although  it is likely that turbines locations will be changed. Not every farm has a dwelling and It looks like on cursory examination that these are not generally facing up hill and large farm buildings could also be in the way.  I am confirming this with Banks

Darlington Council Wildflower meadows visit

Darlington council, ecology officer visit
Rob visited several wildflower meadow sites and took Catherine Boyle from MEC and Michelle Johnston from Coast & Country housing along as well. Darlo council has over 3 years experience in planting meadows, and we saw several examples of different sites.

1 where there had been a survey in the 70’s with lots of wildflower varieties. This site was allowed to grow naturally without being cut every couple of weeks as normal. 50% of local varieties came up!
2. This site was sprayed off and then re-seeded with a grass/wildflower mix. The meadow was only cut once. Brown unsightly docks that came through were sprayed again. Sheep can be used to keep grass down. Farmers often used as contractors as grass has to be collected.
3. Beck area with houses close by. A large amenity area for playing football etc and a windy wildflower area, with a desire line by the beck. Got a lot of initial criticism but now neighbours very happy.
4. Area near nature reserve that extended the wildlife corridor. Areas for football, dog walking, had desire line paths and amenity stripes near roads so it looks cared for.

We really enjoyed the visit and learnt a lot!

Community Environmental Forum Redcar & Cleveland

Rob went along to give a small presentation on how councils can put in wildflower meadows that are Bee & wildlife friendly. Redcar & Clevelands area has so many large green areas that are really a bit boring and formless and the council could make a big difference by putting meadows in and it would not cost any more money!