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Wind farm sites 'unsuitable'


A leading renewable energy provider claims most of the council-owned land earmarked for proposed wind turbines is not suitable.

Somerset County Council has identified land near Weare, Cocklake, Mark, Edithmead, Lympsham, Brean and East Brent as possible sites for wind farms.

Council officers want to see the turbines built on county-owned farmland in a drive to go green and boost revenues.

But renewable energy provider Ecotricity says most of the sites would not be able to support wind turbines or get planning permission.

The company, which is appealing against Sedgemoor District Council’s rejection of its application for a wind farm site at Brent Knoll, worked with the county council as consultants three years ago.

Potential sites have to be tested for environmental suitability, aircraft flight paths, distance from mobile phone masts and television aerials as well as the impact on residents.

Renewable energy companies are currently preparing bids in case the land is put out to tender by the county council.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “We worked with the county council three years ago to look at potential sites for their farms and there wasn’t a huge amount of land we could use.

“Most of the sites were unsuitable because of various conditions, and some didn’t receive enough wind to support the turbines.

“We have been preparing a bid and think some of the sites could sustain some wind turbines, but not the majority of them.”

The turbines will generate up to 12megawatts of power, or enough to power 7,800 homes, but will be limited in height to less than 80m from ground to blade hub.

The county council is due to choose a developer to apply for planning permission for a wind farm in January.

The council has a target of producing between 11 and 15 per cent of electricity in the county from renewable energy.