Wind power appeal casts shadow over disabled children’s chance to ride

October 31, 2013


A CLUB devoted to helping disabled children get in the saddle fears it may have to close if permission is granted for a wind turbine near its Whittington stables.

Lichfield Riding for the Disabled Association says its future is at risk due to a proposed 60m tall triple-bladed turbine at land south of Hademore House Bridge, Fisherwick Road.

The renewable energy scheme has already been turned down by Lichfield District Council but applicants JF and BM Gray of Sheepwash Farm, Whittington, have now appealed.

The riding association, which operates from Coton House Farm Stables in Whittington, claims the proposal would kill off the group.

“If the proposal goes ahead, we cannot continue to ride,” said chairman Debbie Hoskins.

“The noise and shadows that a wind turbine generates creates an unacceptable level of risk.

“The safety and wellbeing of our riders is paramount and the risk posed to our horses and ponies being spooked is too high.”

The original application maintained no properties would be affected by so-called “shadow flicker” from the 500kW turbine, which would have three 26.5m tapered blades, creating a maximum height of 86.5m from the base to the tip of the blades.

The British Horse Society has investigated the potential equine hazards posed by wind turbines and believes horses may react adversely to blade shadows.

“In sunshine the rotors of a wind turbine will cast a shadow on the ground that the horses are being asked to cross and this may frighten some horses,” explained Mrs Hoskins.

“Shadows cast from a blade are very different from those cast by any other moving object, because of their speed and because the object casting the shadow is probably not obvious to a horse.

“The shadow is perhaps perceived as an animal or other live threat.

“These shadows can affect a considerable distance from the turbine at certain times of the day or year when the sun is very low.

“Blade shadows are not a problem if the turbine is to the north of the right of way or road. Shadows are longest early in the morning and in the evening – both times when more horses are being exercised.”

Horses could also be spooked by blades which start to turn while in its sight line, by turning blades that first come into view at eye level, and by noise from the blades and motors, added Mrs Hoskins.

“If it goes ahead it means the end of our group, which is something I just cannot face,” she said.

“Riding for the Disabled gives the opportunity to those who have learning or physical disabilities, or both, to participate in an activity giving them a challenge, opportunity to interact with other riders, to form friendships with the volunteers, to learn new skills, to get physical exercise and to have fun.

“All of our riders love their sessions and really look forward to them – it is often the highlight of their week.

“Parents and carers love watching and seeing how the faces of their riders light up with joy. It is truly heart-warming.”


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