Residents fear that plans to re-power wind turbines at Delabole, could lead to the installation of machines more than twice the size of the current ones.An announcement is due to be made this morning by Good Energy about the Delabole site – scene of the UK’s first commercial wind farm.
But opponents have voiced their concern that the announcement will signal a proliferation of wind farms springing up in north Cornwall using a new generation of wind turbines that stand taller than Truro Cathedral.
North Cornwall District Council has confirmed that other wind farm companies are looking to install turbines in north Cornwall.
The Delabole wind farm has 10 100ft (30 metre high) turbines.
The site is now owned by Good Energy but the wind farm project was pioneered by farmer Peter Edwards.
Mr Edwards has refused to comment before today’s announcement on the suggestion that plans for larger turbines could be a part of the re-powering plans for the wind farm. He did confirm the wind turbines would be 16 years old in December.
Delabole wind farm currently provides enough electricity for 3,000 homes.
At today’s announcement Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, is expected to state what the re-powering of the site will mean for the UK’s climate change targets, for the county and for Delabole.
Tim German, director of Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership, is also expected to speak, as is Mr Edwards.
Wind turbines have a life expectancy of 20 years and at the time of their erection at Delabole objectors voiced concerns that once sited they would remain.
Keith Goodenough, chairman of the Group Against Windfarm Proliferation spoke against any proposal to use larger wind turbines.
He said that when the wind farm was first applied for there was the suggestion that after 20 years’ use the machines might be taken down and the area restored.
“I knew that wouldn’t happen and we would have bigger ones and now they have the planning there they will not let that happen.”
Mr Goodenough’s group is already fighting proposals for five turbines at Otterham and says a further 20 turbines are envisaged on land at Davidstow, although no formal planning application has yet been submitted.
“We were led to believe at the end of their lifespan they would be taken down. We are not happy about it,” said Mr Goodenough.
He said if plans for the turbines at Otterham were granted, both sites would be clearly visible.
“If the ones at Delabole are one and a half times bigger they do not enhance the area.
“It is bound to be intrusive on the landscape and when all these spring up all we will have is wind farms.”
A spokesman for North Cornwall District Council confirmed that no application had yet been submitted for the Delabole wind farm site.
However, the council said they had been approached on behalf of the owners of the Delabole wind farm and asked what information the planning authority would need if an application was submitted.
As a result, NCDC has contacted its environmental health department, the Environment Agency, Natural England, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Highway Authorities and utilities to see what information is needed.
The existing 10 turbines at Delabole produce 400 megawatts of power and measure 30 metres to the hub and 43 metres to the top of the blade.
“We understand they intend to apply for nine new turbines but take down the 10.
“The new turbines would be 65 metres to the hub and up to 105 metres to the tip of the blade. This would have the capacity of supplying power to 10,000 homes,” added the council spokesman.
Truro Cathedral’s great central tower and spire rises to 250 feet.
John Lugg a district councillor for the area said : “I have spent the last 15 years defending the site at Delabole because many of the fears we had in 1990 proved to be groundless.
Bob Flower, the second district councillor for the area, said he had always been in favour of the Delabole wind farm but knew no details of the proposals.
NCDC said the company Ecotricity had approached them seeking information for a site at Hendraburnick between Delabole and Otterham Station.
The company was talking about 20 turbines straddling the A39 with a maximum height of 100 metres to the tip of the blade.
6 June 2007
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