Residents of Josey Hill, St Lucy, have said an emphatic no to wind turbines in their area, at least until further testing is done.
About 50 residents turned up Saturday night at a town hall meeting at the Phillipi Pentecostal Church in Josey Hill, to address the issue.
Some of the concerns they raised about a proposed Barbados Light & amp; Power (BL & amp;P) wind turbine project at nearby Lamberts included noise pollution, reports of second-hand equipment and the way the turbines would change the landscape and their lives.
“How would this affect people in an environment like this where there are caves? Am I to believe a turbine spinning at hundreds of miles an hour is not going to keep a sound? Am I to believe that it is to keep as much noise as a bedroom fan?” asked Ingram Cumberbatch, president of the Concerned Citizens Association.
He drew reference to a previous wind turbine built in the area, which he said was noisy and dangerous, and compared it to what was being proposed.
“When you put 11 turbines on that hill, do you mean to tell me they are not going to affect anybody? You are saying you want to put them 350 metres away from us, but our studies have shown that in Europe, one-and-a-half kilometres is the standard. Are we guinea pigs? Are we dispensable?” he asked.
He urged BL & amp;P to “put them down below St Lucy [Secondary] School, [where] there is plenty of unoccupied space”.
“Put them out to sea, I have no problem with that. It is Josey Hill today, but where tomorrow?” he said to applause from the audience.
Cumberbatch added they were not objecting to progress or renewable energy, but not at the cost of people’s health.
However, senior planning engineer at BL & amp;P, Roger Blackman, told residents no second-hand materials would be used as they would be receiving tenders from the best turbine manufacturers from around the world.
He said no noise assessment survey was done when the previous turbine was built, and the 75-metre-high turbines [from base to the tipof the blades] they were proposing were small in comparison to those overseas. He also said Barbados did not offer the environment to place turbines out to sea as the sea floor dropped off too sharply.
Blackman said the initial setback distance from residents was carefully calculated and differed from area to area, country to country.
On the noise issue, he said it would be within world health standards, adding they could slow the turbines down if necessary.
After the meeting, Blackman told the media they would be incorporating all the feedback into their final report, which would be submitted within a month.
Among those at the meeting were St Lucy MP Denis Kellman, and his Democratic Labour Party colleague, former MP Branford Taitt.
By Carlos Atwell
26 February 2007
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