Villagers in a picturesque corner of Suffolk have spoken of their anger at plans for up to eight wind turbines they claim will dwarf their homes and devastate the surrounding countryside.
If approved, the colossal 125-metre high machines are expected to generate enough power for around 11,000 homes – making between 20 and 25 %of houses in the St Edmundsbury district totally operational on renewable energy.
But protestors fear the turbines – planned for a disused airfield in Chedburgh as well as land at the nearby village of Rede and a further site close to Hawkedon – would tower over the villages, and would be visible from as far away as Sudbury, Newmarket, and Lavenham.
Paul Long, chairman of a group opposing wind farms in West Suffolk, said that if built, the turbines would be just five metres lower than the London Eye.
“They are going to completely dominate the Glem valley and we don’t want them there,” he said.
“We are not against wind turbines in appropriate places where they are not going to blight the people who live there, but this will blight a lot of people’s lives and this is not an appropriate place.
“To make matters worse, the local area would almost certainly be re-zoned for industrial use if the turbines are built. Add to this the massive, adverse environmental and visual impact that these turbines will have on this particularly beautiful part of Suffolk, and it looks as if we are destined to have some particularly unpleasant neighbours.”
The Henry Smith charity – which owns the land in Chedburgh – has agreed in principle to enter into negotiations with Enertrag, a Diss-based firm of wind power specialists which wants to develop the site.
David Linley, Enertrag’s project manager, stressed no final decisions had been taken on the turbines. But said if agreement was reached his company would like to erect a “minimum of seven and maximum of eight” turbines on the sites, with four on the airfield.
“Until something is signed up we cannot confirm anything is going to go ahead,” he said. “We are still interested in pursuing the project on Chedburgh airfield and we are still talking to the (Henry Smith) trust.”
Heather Phillips, who lives in Brockley, near Hawkedon, said the turbines would lead to the “damnation of the landscape and the ruination of people’s lifestyle”.
“I understand the need for sustainable renewable energy, but we do not feel that these turbines are the best way to generate it,” she said.
“This is a very beautiful, unspoilt part of the Suffolk countryside, and these turbines are extremely noisy and would affect the wildlife.”
By Lisa Cleverdon
1 June 2007
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