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Major plans to build a windfarm on top of a geological fault could lead to disaster for Rainworth, campaigners are warning.


Energy giant Npower Renewables wants to put five wind turbines on Lindhurst Farm, off Blidworth Lane, in a bid to create greener energy for at least 4,700 homes.

Planning chiefs at Newark & Sherwood District Council will make the final decision on the controversial scheme and have given residents until tomorrow to submit any comments on the plans.

But campaigners say they are worried householders have not been made aware of all the issues at stake and are calling on them to lodge objections by tomorrow’s deadline.

Chad has now outlined the main issues surrounding the wind farm, with both the campaigners and Npower having their say.

* Campaigners say they have discovered maps showing a major geological fault directly underneath the farm, making the site unstable and entirely unsafe for the 125m-high structures.

Rainworth resident Alwyn Brettell told Chad the fault had first been discovered in the 1970s ““”“ causing plans to mine in the area to be abandoned.

“Npower seems to think it can put anything on that land ““”“ but the ground around there is moving,” he said.

“The landscape there has changed over the last 25 years because of subsidence and the geological fault, and you shouldn’t be putting 125-metre high wind turbines on land like that.”

But Npower Renewables has dismissed the concerns over the fault, saying expert consultants have investigated the fault and do not consider it a risk.

Project manager Cath Stevenson said geotechnical engineers consider the fault an ancient feature ‘which evidently has not been reactivated in the last 195 million years.’

* PROTESTERS say the wind turbines will become a massive eyesore ““”“ visible from miles around and ruining the views of residents in both Rainworth and Mansfield.

Said Rainworth resident Mike Marriott: “We’re worried that the people who live in this area don’t realise the scale of these turbines.

“It’s difficult for people to understand the size of the these and how far they will be seen from, particularly in Rainworth ““”“ they will be visible from 25 or 30 miles away.

Npower Renewables says the wind farm has been ‘sensibly and responsibly designed’ so it will not have an unacceptable impact on nearby homes.

But there has also been a dispute over images Npower produced to show how the turbines will appear on the landscape, with campaigners claiming the images were misleading.

Said Mr Marriott: “They put together these photo montages of how the turbines will look against the landscape, but we dispute the scales they have used.

“It was quite obvious that the scale was wrong ““”“ these didn’t look more than 20 times the size of a six-foot hedge.

“They looked reasonably high even at that, but these are going to be about 125m high ““”“ the biggest in the country.”

But a Npower spokesman said the firm’s images, which were exhibited at Rainworth Miners’ Welfare in October, were created accurately to scale by independent landscape architects.

* Wind turbines have been known to cause ‘shadow flicker’, which occurs when the sun is passing behind the rotating blades of a wind turbine to create a flickering shadow over nearby homes.

Campaigners say this will be distracting and upsetting for residents ““”“ and objector Mike Marriott said the effect has been known to cause migraines and even epileptic fits.
But Npower Renewables says the flickering would only affect properties within 820m of the blades, insisting the frequencies for the proposed Lindhurst Farm turbines would not rotate at a high enough frequency to cause epileptic episodes.

Said project manager Cath Stevenson: “The shadow flicker only occurs inside buildings where the flicker appears through a narrow window opening and only if the properties are within a specific distance from the turbines. It is very easy to predict at which properties it could potentially occur and when.”

She added that the firm could take ‘mitigation measures’ such as switching off the turbines if some homes experienced problems with flicker.

* Any comments on Npower Renewables’ planning application to build the wind farm must be submitted to Newark and Sherwood District Council by tomorrow.

The planning application can be viewed and commented on at www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk ““”“ by following the links to view planning applications and entering reference number 06/01014/FULM.

Alternatively you can email the planning department at planning@nsdc.info.

30 August 2006