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Submitted by on September 25, 2013 – 3:43 pm2 Comments
Marston Mill wind turbine - works will start during the last week of September

Marston Mill wind turbine – works will start during the last week of September

As part of the Marston Vale Trust’s commitment to making a real contribution to combating climate change; solar (photovoltaic) panels were fitted to the roof of the Forest Centre in December 2011.  The panels cover over 400m2 of the roof and generate around 40,000 kWh of electricity every year (from 9th December 2011 to 14th December 2012 the actual reading was 44,821 kWh). This means that over a quarter of the Forest Centre’s annual electricity usage has been coming from solar energy.

The solar (photovoltaic) panels are just one step that the Trust has taken in creating a more energy sustainable future.  We already heat the Forest Centre and our hot water using an efficient woodchip heating system.  The Trust has achieved the ISO 14001 accreditation for our Environmental Management System following a series of measures, including low energy lighting, waste reduction and increased recycling.

The Marston Vale Trust are always looking for ways to improve and that is why over the next few months you will notice some groundwork being undertaken around the Millennium Country Park, in preparation for the installation of a wind turbine. The turbine is due to be delivered in February and after a short commissioning period it should be actively producing electricity in March 2014.

Made by one of the world’s leading manufacturers Enercon, it will have a hub height of 85m with rotors approximately 35m long. It is estimated to produce around 4,500,000 KWh of electricity per year, some of which will be used by the Forest Centre to ‘top-up’ what it receives through its photovoltaic panels. With the turbine installed the Forest Centre will run totally on renewable electricity. The remainder of the electricity produced will be exported to the National Grid and will be sufficient to power around 1,200 houses. It will also create an income for the Trust and reduce the Vale’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The Marston Vale Trust realises that the installation of a wind turbine will not be readily accepted by everyone. However the Trust firmly believes that for the greater good of the environment and in a small way to help reduce the greenhouse gasses that the burning of fossil fuel produces in generating electricity, that it is the best option for the Marston Vale and future generations.

To read all our blog posts that report progress on the turbine build, click here

An the Forest Centre’s reception, in Marston Moretaine we have a publication from the Centre for Sustainable Energy entitled ‘Common concerns about Wind Power’ – it details the concerns and current evidence as well as providing a summary of their research. Please ask to see it as it should answer any concerns you may have. It is also available as a download here (300kb pdf). With thanks to the Centre for Sustainable Energy www.cse.org.uk/

If you have further comments to make please email the Marston Vale Trust’s Chief Executive, Nick Webb on nick.webb@marstonvale.org

2 Comments »

  • Tim says:

    I have been very much in favour of ‘green energy’, however over the recent years, seeing more and more houses covered in solar panels and wind turbines springing up in our beautiful countryside, I have been getting more and more annoyed at the location of turbines and solar generation on a micro scale.

    I feel this should be controlled more tightly by planners who should be in favour of offshore wind farms and large solar farms where electricity can be generated in a more efficient manner.

    The new turbine at the Forest Centre is certainly visible – for over 10 miles around and in my opinion completely destroys the landscape. I am strongly opposed to this and feel it is also setting a precedent for further development in the local area.

    Having visited Marston Park from day 1 of opening, I have seen so many improvements and fully support these, but I feel the wind turbine has been a huge mistake and from recent discussions with walkers on the Thrift and in the village and surrounding area, opposition is certainly growing locally.

    • The Forest says:

      This issue is subjective and you wouldn’t expect the Marston Vale Trust to be anything other than wholeheartedly in favour of the new turbine in the Millennium Country Park.

      We have known from the start that there would be a body of opposition to the turbine’s construction and this has proved to be the case. There has been, at the same time, a body of support for it – both for its green power generation and for its aesthetics.

      If you feel that these developments should be controlled more tightly by planners, you have the right to lobby our planners at Central Beds Council and perhaps your MP. The RSPB have applied to construct a similar turbine at their HQ at Sandy. The fact that a national environmental charity has decided to move into wind power is an interesting development.

      Whether you and others maintain your dislike for the turbine at Marston Moretaine is something that time will reveal. I can’t help thinking of the parallel provided by the brickworks chimneys at Stewartby. The four that remain are now protected, regarded with affection locally and seen as important relics of our recent industrial past. The turbine has a projected life of 25 years. If after that time it’s considered necessary, it can be dismantled, taken away and recycled without leaving much of a trace in the Park.

      I am very pleased that you support the other improvements that have been made in the Park and really hope you will continue to enjoy visiting in the future.

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