Burbo Bank windfarm expansion & demolition of the Proudman Oceanic Laboratory

Posted: 22/06/2012

The Burbo Bank wind farm is located just off the coast of the Wirral and is viable from Hoylake, Meols, Leasowe and New Brighton. Currently, the wind farm consists of 30 Siemens 3.6MW turbines but DONG Energy, who erected the turbines in 2007 have submitted an application to add an extra 45 wind turbines onto the site.

This would see a total of 75, 235m high wind turbines over a 40km space only 7km away from Hoylake. The plans are currently at the pre-application stage but have faced vicious criticism by the Hoylake and Meols chancellor John Hale, who describes the wind farm as a ‘visual blot.’

Burbo Bank lies within Liverpool Bay and the electricity that’s generated is transported via cable to Wales where it‘s connected to the national distribution network. If the expansion plans were given the go ahead, it would power a total of 170,000 homes according to DONG Energy estimates however, due to the size of the application, it is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and will have to be approved by the National Infrastructure Directorate.

Chancellor John Hale spoke to the Echo and commented on the scheme, ‘I think the money is better invested in other types of energy which does not give rise to these very questionable visual impacts. People come to Hoylake to look out to sea, to the horizon, and they see these wind farms, which as far as I can tell don’t seem to be working a lot of the time anyway.’

The application for the extra wind turbines by DONG Energy will be considered by Wirral Council’s planning committee next week on the 28th June at the Wallasey town hall.

Do you agree with the Hoylake and Meols chancellor and believe the wind turbines spoil the views of the Irish Sea or do you think the need for renewable energy is more important than a view?

Another story emerging from the Wirral is centred around the Proudman Oceanic Laboratory located on Bidston hill. This historic laboratory was used for leading international research until 2005, before staff were moved to the new premises within the University of Liverpool. It is believed that the team of world class scientists developed the modern method of tidal prediction in the Laboratory along with other ground breaking research.

The National Environment Research Council who owns the four story Grade I listed building, leases it to Wirral Council but wants to demolish a section of the Laboratory as its struggling to sell or pay for the maintenance costs.

The NERC are asking Wirral Council for permission to demolish the building but Mr Crawford, the chair of the Wirral Taiko Dragon Drummers wants to use the building for his community stimulated project. Mr Crawford spoke to the Echo and said, ‘The drummers are a small group but there is a lot of demand for our work and we want to expand. The drumming project has shown considerable health benefits and has also been helpful in dealing with anti-social behaviour.’

Wirral Council leader Phil Davis commented on the proposed usage of the Laboratory, ‘If there is a viable proposition to take this on, then we will look at it. If the Trust, or anyone else, can make a business case, we would look at it, but the building is costing a lot of money to maintain while it remains empty.’

A NERC spokeswoman stated that they are seeking permission to demolish a part of the building but leaving the most historic section standing.

What do you think should happen to the Proudman Oceanic Laboratory on Bidston Hill?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

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(0) Comments hoylake, bidston, wind turbines, Wirral council, Wirral

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