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D-Day for village wind farm project  

Protesters have taken a step forward in their fight to stop proposals for a windfarm on the outskirts of a village.

The Campaign to Limit Onshore Development (Clowd) says a Bedford Council planning officer’s report recommends the local authority refuses permission for the turbines to be set up at Airfield Farm in Podington, near Wollaston.

Bedford Council, the controlling authority, will vote on whether to approve plans for the windfarm at a meeting on Monday.

A spokesman for the council said: “After careful deliberation, officers have now concluded their findings.

“Despite the obvious environmental benefits that such renewable projects offer, the cumulative harm caused to landscape character, historic assets, residential amenity and recreational appeal of the countryside is considered so significant in this instance that they outweigh the environmental benefits.”

Steve Chambers, of Clowd, said: “The planning officer’s recommending refusal of the application for nine turbines, 125 metres high, at Podington is a commonsense response to a proposal which is deeply insensitive to residents and the countryside.

“We have consistently argued these structures are too big and would overwhelm locals and change the very nature of the landscape without any significant impact in the fight against climate change.

“The hidden public subsidies received by wind factory developers doubles their income. Clowd believes it would be far more effective for this money to be spent in grants towards solar panels and home insulation rather than going to shareholders of a Dutch energy company.”

However, their views are not echoed by green campaigners who are pressing for more renewable energy sources to be set up around the area to reduce the impact on the environment cause by more traditional power stations.

The developer, Nuon Renewables, has already reduced the number of turbines at the site, from 15 to nine, after a public consultation.

Head of projects for Nuon Renewables Piers Guy said: “These turbines will produce clean electricity for the equivalent of 10,000 homes. The views of residents are important to us and we take seriously any comments we receive and address concerns wherever possible.”

The Wind Supporters’ Association, which has been backed by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, is backing the farm at Podington, as well as others proposed for Bozeat and Emberton, near Olney.

A spokesman for the Bedford-based group said: “Groups like Clowd are living in cloud cuckoo land. If we are to tackle global warming we have to generate as much wind power as soon as possible, otherwise the Government will opt for nuclear power in the future.”

By Tim Hawkins

Evening Telegraph

6 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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