An MP who considered installing a wind-turbine on his house has joined protestors fighting proposals for a wind farm at a Suffolk beauty spot.
Tim Yeo gave his backing to villagers in Chedburgh, Hawkedon and elsewhere who fear plans for up to eight 125m wind turbines at a disused airfield would tower over their homes.
The firm involved in the proposals – Enertrag – has stressed no decisions have been taken but it is interested in creating between seven and eight turbines on the former Chedburgh airfield site if the idea progresses.
The site in Chedburgh is owned by the Henry Smith charity, which has agreed in principal to enter into negotiations with the Diss-based Enertrag.
But yesterday villagers from across the area met with South Suffolk MP Mr Yeo at Hawkedon Village Hall to voice their concerns and he has now vowed to back residents in their fight.
They have set up a campaign group called Action Against Chedburgh Turbines Now (AACT Now) which will be keeping residents informed about any progression in the wind farm proposals and campaign against any such plans.
Mr Yeo, who told the EADT how he himself had ditched his own plans for a wind turbine on his own land amid residents’ concerns, said: “My view is wind turbines are a good idea but only where they are acceptable to those living near them.
“The problem here is they are clearly not seen as being acceptable and it is a particularly beautiful part of Suffolk.
“The meeting was very well attended – the village hall was packed. There is obviously great local concern and there are good reasons for being concerned. I have promised them my support.”
But in nearby Depden, which would be affected if a wind farm was built, parish councillors have pledged to keep an open mind and have not joined the campaign.
And a handful of members of Depden Parish Council have lodged requests with St Edmundsbury Borough Council for a special dispensation allowing them to take part in discussions over the wind farm proposals despite having a potentially “prejudicial interest” in any such scheme.
Graham Marler, clerk at Depden Parish Council, said: “We have got to keep an open mind. We are not involved in the protest group but we will be consulted with when, and if, there is a planning application.
“We are not allowed to prejudge the opinion of the parish council.”
By Laurence Cawley
9 June 2007
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