High Weald

Report title:
Wind Energy Regional Assessment for the High Weald AONB

Wind energy regional assessment for the High Weald

Status and date:
Complete; May 2009.

Research purpose:
To provide a technical evidence base to inform AONB responses to climate change policies; district renewable strategies and renewable energy development proposals and in order to meet objective G3 of the AONB Management Plan.

Research aims:

  • To understand the technical constraints on wind energy development in the High Weald
  • To highlight the potential contribution wind energy could make to renewable targets in the High Weald.

Research findings:
Constraints such as; the High Weald's large rural population, it's many roads and rights of way and influence from Gatwick airport, together make the AONB unsuitable for large wind energy developments.  Single turbines or small clusters of up to 3 turbines in the .75 - 2 MW range may be more suitable.  Selecting a site and layout may still however be problematic for the industry.

AONB Unit comment:
Policy makers in the High Weald face significant challenges in:

  • Meeting Government targets for 15% renewables by 2020.
  • Meeting aspirations of the statutory AONB Management Plan - committing local authorities to reduce locally arising greenhouse gas emissions.
    Whilst alternative renewable solutions exist, it is clear that only a step change in renewable installations and comprehensive energy saving programme will meet the challenges ahead.We're aware that technical improvements or changes could influence the outcome of this exercise if it were repeated in the future; so we don't make any assumptions of feasibility based upon these results.