South East Cornwall’s first giant wind turbine is set to loom over a moorland village.The proposal to place a 50-metre high turbine on the north-eastern side of Pensilva has sparked fierce debate among residents.
And although the proposal is only at a consultation stage, a group of villagers is already planning an action group to fight the plan before it even goes forward to Caradon District Council for a planning decision.
About 150 people crowded into a consultation meeting held by Cornwall Light and Power last Friday.
The company, which owns and manages the wind farm at Goonhilly Downs, near Helston, said it wanted to involve the residents fully in the consultation process.
A spokesman for the company said: “This is just at a consultation stage. You need to test the viability of the site, how much wind there is and the environmental impact. It is best practice to talk to the local community.
“We are looking at the viability for one turbine at this site. They are becoming more and more efficient and this one turbine is equivalent to three and a half turbines at the Delabole site. That was the first wind farm in the country and it was built in 1991.”
The company said the turbine, which would be 164 feet high, will produce 1.3 megawatts of electricity – enough to provide power for 900 average-sized homes.
The spokesman added: “It was quite a lively discussion on Friday evening but there was a lot of interest. We did hand out questionnaires and of those returned so far, 26 respondents are in favour of the project and 29 are against.”
One resident who is very much against the proposal is Roy Metherell, one of a group which is meeting later today to organise opposition to the plan.
He said: “We are against this proposal for a number of reasons and we are determined to fight it. It seems very stupid to situate a single turbine in an area with a number of properties and it will certainly be a blot on the landscape.
“But we are very concerned about low-level noise and we also have health concerns about it. There are also a lot of mine shafts in the area and we are concerned about how the mines could be affected.
“We know it’s going to be difficult to fight because of the Government’s green agenda. This turbine would be on the land of someone who doesn’t live in the village so he won’t have to look at it.”
Another resident, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “It has certainly sparked a lot of debate and some people are starting a petition against it. It would certainly spoil the views of the village. And who’s to say that once there is one turbine it won’t lead to more.”
Under current guidelines the UK should produce 10% of all its electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and 20% by 2020. Currently less than 5% of the country’s power comes from renewable sources of energy.
The spokesman for Cornwall Light and Power Company said: “The question of renewable energy is a major issue that has to be faced. We want to draw as little attention to the wind farms as possible, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think the turbines are majestic and grace the landscape.
“People tend to be fearful of them at first but they end up being quite attached to them.”
The meeting for people opposed to the turbine is being held in the village hall this afternoon at 4pm.
23 May 2007
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