The company preparing to build Suffolk’s first wind farm is seeking permission to install more powerful turbines – but the overall height of the structures will stay the same.
Under details just submitted to Suffolk Coastal District Council the rotor blades at the Parham wind farm, near Framlingham, will be longer and the six turbines will generate 25% more electricity than originally planned. However, the turbine tower will be shorter.
According to Your Energy, the developer, the total height of the turbines will remain at 100 metres and the new machines will be quieter at low wind speeds.
But the No Wind Farm at Parham (NOWAP) protest group said the change in design was in line with their claim that the original plans had been a “Trojan horse” ready to “smuggle in” bigger machines.
An application to the district council to vary a condition on the wind farm planning permission follows a ten-month-long tendering process and difficulty in finding a manufacturer able to meet construction deadlines because of the huge worldwide demand for turbines.
James Townsend, Your Energy’s senior development manager, said: “We have looked at the best turbine for the wind farm, and concluded that the Enercon E70 is the likely turbine to be installed.
“Parham Airfield will be a wind farm that will deliver clean energy equivalent to the needs of over 4,500 houses and something that Suffolk will be proud of.”
As part of the planning permission granted last July, Your Energy was asked to ensure that all finalised designs were considered by the district council to ensure they met the strict noise and visual criteria.
Mr Townsend said noise concerns had been an important consideration when the planning application was determined and Suffolk Coastal had imposed tougher limits than recommended by Government guidelines.
He added: “However we understand that this is what the council want and the turbine selected will be quieter at low wind speeds than originally proposed, so I believe that the council and nearby residents will be happy with our decision to select this turbine”
The proposed Enercon E70 is the same model of turbine Your Energy operates at its ten-turbine Burton Wold Wind Farm in Northamptonshire.
The company claims this has been running successfully for over a year “with none of the problems predicted by the minority of detractors before construction”.
The original plans for Parham were for six Bonus machines, 100m tall consisting of a 69m tower and 31 m blade.
The new turbines will still be 100m, with a shorter tower 64.5 metres high and a blade length of 35.5m, giving it a larger rotor diameter to catch more wind and generate more energy.
John Constable, chairman of NOWAP, said: “When the council originally granted permission for the Parham wind farm, local residents immediately warned them that this was a ‘Trojan Horse’ application intended to smuggle in a much larger turbine, and we even predicted that it would be the Enercon E70.
“This turbine has a bigger generator, much larger blades and swept area, causing increased visual impact and access problems, and a much lower cut-in speed with serious noise implications for near neighbours.”
Ivan Jowers, chairman of Suffolk Coastal’s development control committee, said the council would be launching a “full and wide-ranging” consultation about the application, giving all sections of the community the opportunity to air their views.
By David Green
12 May 2007
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