Glyndebourne Opera should re-think its plans to build a huge wind turbine on the top of the Downs in an area of outstanding natural beauty, claims the South Downs Society.
The planning application, submitted to Lewes District Council last week, proposes a 70-metre high turbine on Mill Plain, between Glyndebourne and Ringmer, on the site of an old windmill.
The turbine is designed to produce 850 kilowatts of power for the opera house and surrounding area.
‘The South Downs Society is not opposed to renewable energy,’ said its chairman, Jon Martin, ‘but it is vital that we protect the few areas of unspoilt countryside we have in the south-east from large-scale developments such as these.’
Jacquetta Fewster, society director, said: ‘This turbine will be generating most power in the winter when the winds are strong, and not in the summer when visitors flock to the opera.
‘We are pleased that Glyndebourne is thinking green, but, rather than spoil the landscape, it should begin by reducing its impact on the environment, by doing more to help visitors travel by public transport, for example.
‘At 70 metres in height, the turbine would be visible over miles, and would be as tall as a 24-storey skyscraper.’
The £700,000 turbine is the brainchild of Glyndebourne boss Gus Christie who said: ‘Glyndebourne has a long history of careful environmental management and wishes to make a significant reduction in the contribution that it makes towards climate change by generating its own electricity from an on-site renewable source.
‘The most effective option is to install a wind turbine. Mill Plain has had a windmill in the past and is a therefore an obvious location.’
Lewes District Council said the application would be considered by the planning committee in due course.
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