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Wind farm plans aired


Three huge wind turbines more than twice the height of Nelson’s Column could be set up on Weston Hills.

The 395ft (120m) turbines would be visible from more than 30 miles (50km) away on a clear day and would catch the eye of drivers using the A507 and A1(M).

The two farmers behind the plans to put up the turbines, John and Paul Cherry, of Darmalls Hall Farm, Weston, told villagers at a meeting this week that the turbines would be hooked up to the national grid and provide up to 6MW of power ““ enough electricity to supply 3,300 homes.

The farmers said profits from the green energy would finance a trust for the benefit of the village. However, environmental issues were prime considerations for investing in wind power.

“We’ve asked ourselves questions like: what happens when the oil runs out? And, can we as farmers do anything to help?” John Cherry told Weston residents.
“Harvesting the wind seems to make sense. It is a wonderful system and, once up and running, it will run itself.”

There was cautious support for the idea among residents who attended. Vice-chairman of Weston Parish Council Keith Crofton said: “At this stage it is very difficult to judge. There are two arguments here about both the visibility and noise impact.

“Certainly doing something to address environmental concerns is to be commended, but the question is whether it would be better put somewhere else.
“It’s also very important that it doesn’t have a mushrooming effect.”

Another resident came out in full support of the idea. She said: “We, the older generations, are collectively responsible for the situation we find ourselves in regarding climate change and I think these two young men should be commended for what they are doing and we should fully support them.”

Consultant Tony Benson, who is advising the brothers on the project, responded to concerns about noise and visual impact.

“Aesthetics will always be a matter of personal choice,” he said. “However at other sites, generally they have become notable landmarks ““ some have become picnic areas.

“The minimum distance turbines should be from residences is 400m.These will be 700m from the nearest house.”

The power lines to be installed would be incapable of supporting further turbines, added Dr Benson.

The 263ft (80m) tall structure would support blades 263ft in diameter. The overall height will be more than twice that of London landmark Nelson’s Column, which restorers recently confirmed is 169ft (52m) tall.

The results of noise tests will be included in a planning application, which is expected to be lodged within three months.

Doug Stewart, the founder of Green Energy UK, a Ware-based firm supplying renewable energy to the National Grid, said: “Wind power is part of the solution to fighting climate change. I would rather live next to three wind turbines than a power station ““ they are far more attractive to look at.

“If we do find an alternative source of energy these can be removed and the countryside restored ““ the same cannot be said for nuclear energy.”