An “environmental bombshell” has been dropped on a south Norfolk village with plans for seven huge wind turbines, it was claimed last night.
The proposed development north-east of Hempnall, near Long Stratton, would be Norfolk’s largest onshore wind farm. It is being planned by Enertrag UK, the German-owned company based in Diss. The same company is currently building an eight-turbine wind farm at North Pickenham, near Long Stratton, which is the county’s largest scheme.
The Hempnall turbines would be 125m tall – slightly bigger than those at North Pickenham and the larger Swaffham turbine – and would generate up to three megawatts of power each, more than existing models.
The wind farm would be around a mile in length and half a mile wide on arable farmland, north of Bungay Road and north and east of Bussey’s Loke. The landowners involved have already agreed to the development.
Enertrag says that it is not expecting to put in a planning application for at least nine months. Before then it will carry out environmental surveys and public consultation.
Project engineer Terry Chapelhow said: “It is an area that has wide open space with no residential property in the middle. The turbines need to be at least 700m from any residential property. If you look on an Ordnance Survey map there are not many places that fit those criteria.”
District councillor Michael Windridge says the proposals are an “environmental bombshell which has landed on the village of Hempnall”, and says the visual impact of the turbines will be a form of pollution which damages the landscape.
He said: “I don’t think the noise will be an issue, I think most likely it will be a combination of the visual impact on the landscape as well as the inefficiency of the whole thing.”
He is asking council leader Vivienne Clifford-Jackson for “a categorical assurance that the council will never support on-shore renewable energy schemes if they come at the expense of the Norfolk countryside”.
Enertrag is inviting Hempnall, Shotesham and Saxlingham Nethergate parish councils to closed meetings to discuss the matter, and says that public consultations will also be held.
Hempnall Parish Council has already called a meeting on Thursday evening to allow residents to have their say.
Vice-chairman David Hook said: “As one of the consultees we feel that the best thing to do is call a meeting and allow the public to give us their views. I expect it will stir up a hornet’s nest.”
Tim Mobbs, South Norfolk Council’s corporate director, said: “We were initially and informally contacted by Enertrag last week, but at this stage we have not received a planning application. We suggested that the company contact the parish council and the district councillor representing Hempnall as early as possible.
“We have now received a formal request from Enertrag for advice from this council on what facts they should include in any environmental impact statement that they would have to submit, if they were to make a formal planning application.”
By Sarah Brealey
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