Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

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Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

6 Landscape and environmentA development which is grouped into a tightlyclustered array is visually more acceptable if itappears as a single, isolated feature in open,undeveloped land. But in agricultural landscapes,rows of turbines may be visually acceptablewhere formal field boundaries are an existingfeature.Dun Law Wind Farm, Scottish BordersThe overall visual impact of a wind developmentwill principally depend on the area from where itis seen (the extent of visibility) and how itappears within these views (the nature ofvisibility). It is not necessarily whether it can beseen or not, but how it is seen and how it lookswhen it is seen. Wind developments will be mostacceptable where they look appropriate to thearea and create what is perceived as being apositive visual image. However, it is evident thatfor some, wind turbines are ugly and unsightlystructures that are out of place in any rural settingand it is unlikely that design and mitigationmeasures will be able to change these opinions.6.5 Designated areasThe UK has many types of designated areas,with National Parks and Areas of Outstanding© ScottishPowerNatural Beauty (England, Wales and NorthernIreland only) receiving the highest level ofprotection, along with a variety of other nationaland international designations.The aim of high level designation is to preserveunique and valuable landscapes and areas forthe nation’s long-term benefit. All the keyplanning guidance referred to in Chapter 5recommends that planning permission shouldnot be granted for renewable energydevelopments in designated areas unless thereare strong overriding considerations and noalternative locations. In most cases this isunlikely to apply to commercial-scale windpower proposals xxi , and a strong case cantherefore be made for maintaining a high levelof protection in areas protected for theirlandscape and aesthetic value.6.6 Public perceptionSome people view wind turbines as gracefulstructures that complement the landscape,particularly when compared with the centralisedpower stations and power lines that have beenpresent across the landscape for many years.Nevertheless, there are also many people whofeel that wind turbines represent anindustrialisation of the landscape and areunacceptable in rural locations. Anecdotalevidence suggests that wind developmentsproposed in already industrialised areas receivefew visual complaints.A Scottish Executive study on public attitudesshows that one in four residents living nearwind farms (26%) say that they spoil thelandscape, with visual impact the primary issuecausing people to dislike wind developments 61 .But the study also showed that for people livingxxiSmall-scale wind turbines and other renewable energy technologies be often be acceptable within designated areas, andthere are a number of successful projects. In some cases, such technologies may help to avoid the need for additional gridinfrastructure.sustainable development commissionWind Power in the UK 57

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