Friday, 26 June 2015

Frodsham Windfarm update

Cllr Lynn Riley and I were shown around the wind farm construction site on the marshes today.  Most of the access roads, crane pads and turbine locations now have their access tracks built.  The next stage, likely to start in early July is the piling stage for the turbine foundations.

I'm pleased to report that, so far at least, there have been no complaints associated with the building works - even if many of us may still complain that the wind farm is being 'imposed' on us.

As someone who has cycled a lot on the marshes - and hopes to again soon - I was pleased to see the miles of access track that will be available for cyclist to use in the future.  I was also pleased to see that cyclists on national cycle route 5 that crosses the marshes have priority over the construction traffic.

Peel and their construction partners CHC were at pains to point out the quality of their environmental stewardship and how they are protecting the bird habitats, and badger sets.  In fact the need to protect the badgers have led to an access ramp being built near Grow How so as to leave the badgers undisturbed.

We were given the full tour of the construction site.  I took lots of photographs.  However as there is little to see above ground at the moment they are not that interesting to view - however I was interested in the way in which the access ways are being constructed on the soft ground of the marshes.

Most of the marshes are, in fact land that was reclaimed when the Ship Canal was contructed.  The land has been used as 'deposit grounds' for the silt dredged out of the Ship Canal and as such the land if very soft.  The road contractors have had to use a fibre membrane reinforced with plastic mesh to suppport the compacted stone roadway.  You can see elements of this in the photograph below.

This is the access ramp being contructed near Grow How showing the membrane and the mesh.

This is the site of the turbine pad closest to Frodsham

This is a roadway that has subsided and showed that the road contractors had to use a stronger membrane on the soft silty ground.  The 'failed' roadway has been replaced with a new access track parrallel to the original one.  The original one will be lifted in due course.

The contractor has 24hr security on site and a whole series of security measures I'm not going to describe.  Lynn and I have asked Cheshire Police to ensure to keep the marshes under scrutiny - and they have agreed to increase their surveillance.

Lynn and I also took the opportunity to have a lengthy discussion about the potential arrangements for the Community Benefit Fund and the Liaison Panel.