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Councillor puts stamp on windfarm debate  

Norfolk councillor yesterday announced he will be cutting through the hot air on the debate on windfarms and putting his money where his mouth is in a bid to stop a proposal for his village.

Fed up with just talking the talk, district councillor Michael Windridge has now hand-delivered a letter to every household in Hempnall asking for their opinions on a proposed seven-turbine development.

With each letter he has included a stamped-addressed envelope, costing him personally in the region of £400, so that he can accurately gauge the strength of feeling for or against the development – the so-called ‘Hempnall Declaration’.

He will then pass on the results to officials at South Norfolk Council and Enertrag UK, the Diss-based developer behind the proposal.

Mr Windridge, a local businessman, said: “As a strong believer in local democracy I am anxious to represent the views of Hempnall villagers concerning this proposal.

“Ever since Enertrag’s proposal was first published I have received a constant number of e-mails and messages from Hempnall residents vehement in their opposition to this proposed development.

“By contrast the project manager David Lindley has been quoted as saying ‘with Hempnall we have a lot of local support, as well as from a lot of villages around’.

“I have challenged Mr Lindley to produce evidence to substantiate what I believe was a wilfully misleading claim. No such evidence has been produced.”

He added: “I have made no secret of my own views. Such a development would ruin Hempnall’s rural landscape. Although I am confident that the majority of villagers share that opinion, nevertheless I am conscious that there is a significant minority of local opinion which supports this project.

“I want to hear from those villagers as well. I am hopeful that this will prove to be an extremely worthwhile exercise in local village democracy.”

Mr Windridge has become an outspoken critic of Enertrag’s proposal for Hempnall, believing it to be “entirely inappropriate” in terms of location, proximity to villagers and scale.

He led criticism of Enertrag, which is behind the newly-opened North Pickenham windfarm and also has plans to develop in Guestwick, after a public consultation meeting in the town organised by the company was poorly advertised.

As a result he was banned from last month’s official opening of the North Pickenham windfarm by Charles Clarke.

Mr Lindley said yesterday: “We have previously asked for responses from every householder and got between 20 and 25 back. If Mr Windridge can do any better then we will appreciate his help.”

Enertrag’s consultation in Hempnall is due to end this spring. A planning application would then be prepared in September, with the results expected next January.

dissmercury.co.uk

14 March 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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