A campaign group has been formed to fight controversial proposals for a seven-turbine wind station at Hempnall.
Worried villagers claim the planned development by German-owned company Enertrag UK would have a devastating impact on the rural area.
And opposition is growing, with people from neighbouring Topcroft, Saxlingham, Shotesham, Bedingham and Woodton teaming up with residents to form community campaign group Showt – an acronym for ‘Stop Hempnall’s On-Shore Wind Turbines’.
Parish council chairman, Geoff Moulton, who has been asked to chair the campaign, said: “I have lived in Hempnall all my life – 58 years – and have a profound love for the rural tranquillity that our village and surrounding villages offer. The heart of Hempnall lies in a conservation area.
“I believe the proposed wind station would ruin the beauty of our local landscape.”
Mr Moulton and South Norfolk councillor Michael Windridge, a leading member of the campaign, have written to local landowners who own the site, urging them to withdraw from the scheme and pursue “less environmentally destructive” farm diversification schemes.
Mr Windridge said: “I have been greatly saddened by the degree of upset this proposal has already caused in the village. Not surprisingly, the people of Hempnall imagined the landowners would be at the forefront of those determined to protect the local countryside.”
Earlier this month, South Norfolk Council gave Enertrag two-year temporary consent to put up a meteorological mast on land off Bussey’s Loke. This will enable the company to establish the feasibility of establishing a wind farm in the location with a view to producing renewable energy.
Projects manager David Lindley, said: “We are committed to green energy and with Hempnall we have had a lot of local support, as well as from a lot of villages around. We are aware of this Showt group – it’s not unusual to have these groups starting up.”
Mr Lindley said the parish council had turned down the offer of meetings to discuss the scheme. However, they will be consulting the local community and other stake holders in due course, and carrying out an assessment of the visual impact of the proposed turbines within a 20kilometre radius, as part of their environmental statement.
“We have to put in any concerns people have and any measures of mitigation we would have. We will be holding open days in the village when people can come and sit down and talk about everything,” he explained.
Farmer Michael Moore, of Silver Green, Hempnall, will have two turbines on his land if the scheme goes ahead.
“‘We are environmentally friendly and are in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, and we have had the environmental people out from the ministry recently. They don’t see it as a detrimental to wildlife at all.
“We are two miles from the centre of the village and three quarters of a mile from any road, and you might just see the tops of the turbines from Hempnall but you wouldn’t see anything else.”
Mr Moore said villagers have differing opinions, but his nearest neighbours are not against the turbines.
Showt supports renewable energy schemes but believes that on-shore wind turbines can create a severe environmental impact that more than outweighs any of the claimed benefits.
The campaign launch is at 2pm on Sunday, December 10 at the village hall, when a walk will held around part of the countryside that would be affected.
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