Opponents of plans to build a major wind farm near a coastal Essex village have urged developers to find a less obtrusive site for the giant turbines.
Electricity firm Npower Renewables submitted plans to Tendring District Council this week to build a five-turbine wind farm on land near St Osyth.
The company said it had spent 10 years researching the project and the 125m high units at Earls Hall Farm would produce enough power for up to 6,000 homes a year.
However, anxious residents have set up a group called STAPLE (South Tendring Acting to Protect our Local Environment), which is opposed to the move due to the close proximity of the site to their homes.
David Harrington, campaign spokesman said: “We believe this inappropriately sited project will have a detrimental effect on local residents, as a result of visual intrusion, noise, flicker and general loss of amenity.
“These turbines will be within half a mile of heavily-populated areas to the west of Clacton. No other operational cluster of large turbines exists in the UK in such close proximity to a densely populated area.”
He said the group backed the need for renewable energy but said an offshore site would be more appropriate and plans to build inland contradicted large-scale coastal schemes.
He added: “Offshore wind power has higher electricity yields than onshore, with no impact on the quality of life of local residents.
“It should be noted that the planned offshore facilities in the outer Thames Estuary will have a combined installed capacity of more than 1400MW, some 125 times greater than this proposed onshore wind power station at Earls Hall Farm.”
But Npower Renewables has urged residents to back the plans in the face of growing concerns about climate change.
Vicky Portwain, the energy giant’s development manager, said: “We’re delighted to have submitted a planning application for a wind farm at Earls Hall Farm. We have seen from the recently published IPCC report that the problem of climate change is becoming ever more serious.
“By changing the way we generate and consume our electricity we can really make a difference to the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, helping to prevent climate change.”
She said the Earls Hall Wind Farm had a “valuable role” to play in that fight and urged Clacton residents to write to the council’s planning department to support the application.
Newsletters will be delivered to local homes this week to help residents stay informed about the plans, which Npower said had been backed up by environmental studies within the proposed area.
A spokesman for Tendring District Council said the plans had been received but they were at a very early stage and had not been examined yet.
24 March 2007
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