“Rural terrorists” trying to stop the development of a wind farm have been blamed for the destruction of equipment worth more than £100,000.
Unknown saboteurs felled the 279ft high device to measure wind strength, known as an anemometer, by cutting a steel supporting rope.
The incident has raised fears that opponents of the controversial renewable energy schemes, blamed for destroying property values as well as damaging health, could carry out copycat attacks elsewhere in the country. “This is rural terrorism – there is no question about it,” said a spokesman for the Marshland St James wind farm consortium in Norfolk.
“People have a democratic right to complain about anything they don’t want in their area, but this is going too far.
“It’s criminal damage. This structure could have killed someone when it fell. The steel supporting rope could have taken someone’s head off when it whiplashed. It’s horrifying.”
Farmers behind the plans, who hope to start development of the site in two or three years’ time, are said to have received threatening letters and abuse in recent weeks from local people opposed to the development of the wind farm and a number had pulled out of the consortium as a result.
Last month, more than 300 people attended a meeting to express concerns about the village being “swamped”.
However, the spokesman insisted: “People might be tempted to try the same thing. But we will not be put off. We will keep going.”
Police are treating the attack on the anemometer as criminal damage and detectives are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
The sabotage comes amid growing concern about the development of wind farms in Britain. A recent survey of people who live near wind farms found that three quarters felt that the noise had damaged their quality of life and four out of five said it has affected their health.
Those who said they were made ill by the sound of the wind farms described conditions ranging from migraines and palpitations to depression.
Many said their sleep was disturbed by the noise and some claimed they had been forced to sell their homes at reduced prices to get away from the area.
By Laura Clout
10 May 2007
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