The campaign group set up to stop Norfolk’s latest windfarm from being built on their doorstep described a consultation exercise in their village as “a complete sham”.
Leaders of Showt (Stop Hempnall’s Onshore Wind Turbines) said that the Diss-based company wanting to build seven 130m turbines on the edge of the south Norfolk village had failed to advertise the exercise widely enough.
Notices of the exercise had appeared in two shop windows and on three posts in the village, but contained no branding for Enertrag UK – and only 150 residents turned up.
David Lindley, manager of projects for Enertrag UK, apologised for the lack of communication but promised villagers that Thursday’s exercise was just the start of a six-month consultation process.
He said that representatives would leafleting every house in Hempnall, Woodton, Saxlingham Nethergate and Shotesham in the next few weeks, before holding a further exhibition in Hempnall before the consultation period ends on March 31.
“We want to listen to people,” said Mr Lindley. “If the vast majority of the people are against this then we will take that into account before deciding whether to press ahead with this project.
“It is understandable that people are scared of change. This windfarm would change things here, but for the right reasons. I hope that by presenting the facts we will win everyone around.”
Enertrag spokesman Terry Chapelow added: “It was refreshing to hear that many residents were open minded and were still considering all the facts regarding the proposal before they made their mind up.”
District councillor Michael Windridge said: “The purpose of Enertrag’s visit to Hempnall last week was to bring reassurance to local villagers that the company’s controversial seven-turbine wind station development is nothing to worry about.
“Judging from the reactions of the minority of residents who managed to see the exhibition real concerns about these huge turbines producing unwelcome noise, flicker, and harmful visual intrusion on the rural landscape have actually increased.
“Enertrag was also unable to dispel continuing worries about the short-term impact on property prices should a proposed development of this scale be approved.”
And chairman of Showt Geoff Moulton said: “Only a handful of Hempnall residents have been made aware of Enertrag’s visit. Its so-called community consultation exercise is a complete sham.”
Enertrag is currently performing an environmental assessment of the site – if it passes noise, shadow flicker, wildlife, landscape and electromagnetic tests a planning application will be prepared in September and the result known next January.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding