Letters for the Editor: Wind Turbine Decommisioning

I write as Chairman of MABRAKE an environmental group based in West Devon and North Cornwall.

We are very concerned about the decommissioning of Wind Turbines that reach end-of-life. There is a Wind Farm at Laneast (Nr. Launceston) which has now stood idle for at least 4 years. It consists of 14 Turbines and I attach two photographs showing the current state of these Turbines. They are deteriorating and as well as being an environmental eyesore they are a potential danger to farmers and walkers who go nearby.

In 2020 I wrote to the local Borough Councilor in Launceston and Cornwall County Council raising our concerns. I was told that the owner of the Wind Farm had received Planning Permission to update the Turbines in 2019 – well so far nothing has happened!

On the 22nd January 2021 I sent the following Freedom of Information request to Cornwall County Council:

What is the number of Wind Turbine installations in Cornwall that have a legal commitment to removing the Turbines on end of life and what is the number that have no legal commitment

On the 19th February 2021 I received the following response:

Unfortunately the Council does not hold information relating to your request in a way that is retrievable. We have no mechanism for retrieving this information other than going through each application manually. This would obviously be very time consuming and would therefore take us over the time allowances for EIR/FOI requests.

On the 27th February I wrote requesting an Internal Review (a legal right) of this response. In this  I said I was astonished that when granting Planning Permission for Wind Turbine installations they did not have a standard policy agreed with the applicants on decommissioning at end-of-life. Cornwall CC should by law have given me a response by 27th April, as yet they have not done so

We believe this matter is of great importance to the residents and visitors to Cornwall. If there are no firm agreements with the owners of Wind Turbines to decommission them at End-of-Life then there is danger that in the future we will have many more installations like Laneast, rusting environmental eyesores which are a danger to those who go nearby. Also these Turbines contain valuable materials such as rare earths which should be recycled.

Dr Gary Vanstone FREng, Chairman Mabrake