Angry members of a Burnham-On-Sea ‘green’ group who are in favour of controversial plans to build a wind farm on the outskirts of the town have this week hit out at councillors for spending £2,000 on fighting the scheme.
In a letter sent to Burnham-On-Sea.com, FORCE (Families For Clean Energy) says it “strongly objects” to the town council spending public funds on fighting the appeal by Ecotricity – the company behind the project – following last year’s decision by Sedgemoor planners to reject its application for five wind turbines.
Burnham-On-Sea.com was first to report last week that town councillors had voted in favour of proceeding with a joint bid with Brent Knoll Parish Council to fight Ecotricity’s plans.
Now, FORCE has published an open latter signed by 40 residents saying: “It has come to our attention that Burnham and Highbridge Town Council is using £2,000 of taxpayers money – our money – to fight the Edithmead wind farm appeal. This will be topped up by an additional £2,000 from Brent Knoll Parish Council.”
“We, members of FORCE and Burnham and Highbridge ratepayers, strongly object to our money being used in this way. We see it as a desperate move which does not have the support of most local people. Indeed, polls have shown that a majority of locals are either not opposed to wind power or actively support it.”
“The ‘Nimbys’ are very vociferous and manipulative but are only a minority. As regards house prices, a study by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors showed that prices do take a dip but then recover.”
“Nor is there a business case against the wind farm. In fact the recent Fullabrook Public Inquiry confirmed that wind farms are good for tourism. Is local ratepayers’ money to be spent against the interests of the many traders who rely on local visitors who, it appears, like wind mills?”
“Most importantly, the wind farm development is an opportunity for us, including our civic leaders, to pledge support for clean and renewable energy. We should be proud of the contribution we can make towards the national targets. We would be amongst the first in Somerset to be doing our bit. Instead we have the predictable and depressing knee jerk reaction from those who purport to represent us.”
“Hurray for Chris Williams, the only councillor with sufficient fibre and foresight to vote against the herd.”
“We encourage people who really care about clean energy to write to the politicians and media and voice their objections to the use of public money for these partisan ends. We should all certainly think carefully next time we cast our votes in local elections.”
13 February 2007
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