The Gamlingay Community Turbine

Energy for Gamlingay . . . and beyond

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TURBINE

What are the benefits of the turbine?

How much CO2 does the Gamlingay Community Turbine offset each year? About 354 tons, probably more. This is based on the current mix of energy sources on the grid and how they are used. It could change over the lifetime of the project.

Assuming that our electricity consumption per head is typical, the average turbine output is about 10% of the domestic electricity consumption of the village – as much electricity as is consumed by the entire Station Road Industrial Estate.

How long will it take for the turbine to generate enough electricity to offset the CO2 released during its manufacture and installation? This milestone was reached in the first year of operation.

What other benefits are there for the Gamlingay community? The Community Turbine operates on a tithe basis where 10% of the net income is given to the village. Applications for funding from the GCT tithe fund can be made by any individual or organisation within the Parish of Gamlingay.

How was the installation funded and may I invest? This is privately funded enterprise which has been wholly funded from local residents and businesses. Priority was given to smaller investors to ensure that as many local people as wanted to invest could do so. While the capital build is now fully funded, it is hoped that further investment opportunities will arise in future. When they do, they will be advertised on this website.

How can I apply for funds from the Community Turbine Tithe Fund?
Complete the application form and follow the instructions for submitting it for consideration.

How does the turbine affect me and the village?

Is the turbine noisy? No. The highest sound level from our turbine will fall to 35 dB(A) at a distance of about 550m. This level is defined as 'rural night-time background'. At the village it will be effectively inaudible.

What about ‘low level noise’? Low level noise is often mentioned in the context of wind power. Assuming it means low frequency noise, below that directly audible, again there is no problem.

Don’t turbines produce low frequency vibrations in the ground? Yes, but at tiny levels, smaller than those from all sorts of other sources such as trains, road traffic, and earthquakes thousands of miles away. They are undetectable by humans.
Isn’t the turbine too close to the village? Are there official rules on this?
The turbine is not too close. There are no official rules and planning authorities take each case on its merits.

Can we be affected by ‘light flicker’? No, the turbine is so far from any occupied dwelling that shadow flicker will be no problem. Very rarely, some people, such as those affected by epilepsy, are sensitive to flickering light at low amplitudes. However the maximum frequency of the turbine induced flicker is well below the lowest frequency that can cause ill health.

Does the turbine interfere with TV reception? It is possible for wind turbines to affect TV reception in some circumstances when the signal is weak. In Gamlingay, however, the village has a line of sight to the nearby Sandy Heath transmitter, so there has been no problem. In addition, this area is now going over to digital transmission which has a very high resistance to interference.

Is the turbine a risk to aviation? No. The Civil Aviation Authority has published guidelines for installing wind turbines so as to present no hazard to local aerodromes. The Gamlingay turbine meets these easily.

How is wildlife affected? The turbine location is outside limits for distances from relevant natural features recommended by Natural England. However, to be sure, we employed a professional ecologist to check that there were no potential problems for local wildlife, particularly bats, and his report satisfied both the council ecologist and groups such as Natural England and the Wildlife Trusts.

Does the turbine present any danger to the public? No. Even spectacular (and vanishingly unlikely) accidents such as the turbine falling over or catching fire would not create any hazard at all because of the distance from any habitation or right of way. Rarely, turbines can shed blades or ice can build up and then slide off but, again, there is nothing vulnerable in range.

Does the turbine affect house prices? The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has studied the effects of wind turbines on property prices extensively and concluded that “There is no definitive answer to this question”. There have only been a couple of cases we can find where wind farms (involving a number of turbines each larger than the Gamlingay machine) were successfully used to justify reductions in house prices. On the other hand, the Gamlingay Community Turbine is providing income to improve village facilities which, by making Gamlingay a more attractive place to live, may actually increase property prices in the village.