Pile driving is intolerable

Protesters against the Atlantic Array, who packed Woolacombe Village Hall on Monday night, were stunned to learn that npower’s spring update included confirmation that they intend to pile drive the foundations of the turbines, which involves ramming piles 30 metres into the bedrock.

Off Blakeney Point in Norfolk, a similar scheme for 88 turbines was predicted to take nine months, and as npower want to erect 240 turbines, you do the math, as they say.

According to the boss of the Redcar, Teesside, wind factory, this means “there could be hundreds, there could be thousands of bangs per mono-pile, depending upon the seabed resistance”.

But in North Devon, this will take place just nine miles off the coast, in what is effectively an enclosed sea.

If you think this is intolerable, what about the wildlife?

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The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society are concerned, because many species use hearing as their primary sense and “they may lack food if fish are scared off, or be physically harmed when noises are loud”.

Cefas, a government body, say “cod and herring will be able to perceive construction noise up to 80 kilometres away, and salmon at considerable distances”. If sand eels are similarly affected, then the entire food chain could be damaged, including the bird population.

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Make the most of whale, dolphin, porpoise and seal sightings, bird watching and fishing, while you can. Even the so-called ‘Greens’ should be alarmed.

So, what can we do about it? Our deaf politicians need to know the extent of the opposition to how our money is being misused.

Npower will shortly be submitting their application to the Planning Inspectorate, so early in August you will be able to register as an interested party, so you can make your views known.

It means completing a simple online form. As many as possible need to join in, and whilst there are many complex issues, we can all understand the consequences of pile driving.

Anyone working or living along the coast – from Ilfracombe in the east to Westward Ho! in the west – should be concerned about their quality of life. We must all insist that pile driving is NOT an option in this sensitive area, and if they must do so, it should be REALLY offshore, out beyond Lundy and in the Atlantic. After all, it is called the Atlantic Array!

Look out for updates and progress reports on the Slay The Array website. In the meantime, please tell all your friends and family, and ask them to take part.

We can’t let this happen to our beloved North Devon. Common sense must prevail.

Michael Pagram

(via email)

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