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'We're not wind farm alley'  

Proposals for a new Norfolk windfarm have emerged, increasing the potential number of turbines in the Swaffham area to more than 20.

Plans by London-based energy company Hamex to build four 125m wind turbines on land at Round Covert between Swaffham and South Acre have reignited concerns about over-development.

There are 10 wind turbines in the Swaffham area – with another six proposed between Swaffham and Sporle, two planned at North Pickenham and now four 3MW turbines proposed near South Acre.

The Stop Turbines Action Group (Stag) has said that Breckland Council must act now to slap tighter guidelines on new windfarm development to prevent the area from being overrun with turbines.

But agent for the development, Cetis, said that Swaffham’s concentration of existing turbines meant it was a logical choice over areas untouched by windfarms.

William Mollett, of Cetis, said it was hoping to put in the planning application for the South Acre development within the next three to six months.

“There is a limit to the number of wind turbines that are acceptable but it is a subjective matter and it is important for clusters of windfarms to be kept together,” he said. “They are a lot more attractive than energy pylons but people don’t complain about them because they don’t have to go through the planning process.

“The location has been chosen because it is the most remote from residential property while still being able to be viewed as an extension to the existing turbines at the Ecotech Centre in Swaffham.”

He said that its four turbines could produce the same amount of electricity as the six that Ecotricity plans to build outside Sporle because of their higher 3MW capacity rating.

Steve Hudson, of Stag, said this new scheme compounded the group’s concerns that green-energy developers were not being properly regulated by the planning system.

He said: “We need Breckland Council to produce policy to protect our heritage and stop the landscape from being swamped by turbines.

“There has to be some control over this deluge of scoping documents and new applications from developers.”

Breckland councillor for South Acre, David Williams, said he could not comment on the Hamex plans but said he did not want to see the Swaffham area becoming the inland equivalent of Yarmouth’s offshore windfarms.

A spokesman for Breckland Council said: “We carried out a landscape assessment, and broadly the council support renewable-energy projects where they are appropriate and all applications are considered on their own merits in accordance with the local plan, current policy and practice.”

Walton & Swaffam Times

12 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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