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Wind farm project is blown off course  

A wind farm proposed to be built on the outskirts of Balsham has been refused planning permission by South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC).

The council’s planning committee met yesterday (Wednesday) morning to determine the outcome of the application for 13 turbines that make up Wadlow Wind Farm, to be built to the northwest of West Wratting and Balsham.

Cllr Philippa Corney, planning committee chairman, said: “SCDC is fully supportive of renewable energy initiatives in South Cambridgeshire.

“However, the scale of this application was not appropriate for this particular location.

“The benefits accruing from this proposal are outweighed by the substantial harm it could cause.

“SCDC would be disappointed but not surprised if the applicant decided to appeal but is prepared to present a comprehensive submission to the appeals inspector on request.”

The application for the wind farm was lodged by RES (Renewable Energy Systems), which says it was “baffled” by the council’s decision to refuse planning permission.

Annette Deveson, project manager, said: “As we have clearly demonstrated to the council, we can prove that this is the best site for a wind farm in South Cambridgeshire.

“There are no serious objections to this wind farm, apart from a vocal but small opposition group.”

The group referred to is Stop Wadlow Wind Farm, a collection of local residents that got together in January 2006 to fight the proposal.

The group lodged a formal objection with the district council as part of the public consultation period, saying it believed the location “to be a fundamentally inappropriate and unsuitable site for a wind farm”.

RES has said it will appeal against the decision, claiming that the proposed location is highly suitable for the farm and that the local area would reap significant benefits.

Ms Deveson said: “After spending over three years undertaking extensive research into this site, we know that it will generate substantial amounts of clean electricity, with minimal impacts on the environment.

“With this wind farm being refused, what message does this send out about South Cambridgeshire’s commitment to tackling climate change and energy supplies?

“Where does the district want to get its electricity from in future?”

The 13 turbines proposed each have 80m towers, while the tips of the blades would reach 120m – Stop Wadlow Wind Farm asserts that they would be visible from more than 30 miles away.

Councillors on the planning committee visited the site on Monday, where they were given an idea of the height of the turbines with a blimp.

Saffron Walden Reporter

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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