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Wind farm plan for Suffolk village

Developers hope to build a £6.6million wind farm in a rural Suffolk village, installing 130-metre tall turbines that will generate enough electricity to power thousands of homes.

But the move has prompted concerns it will have a detrimental effect on Suffolk’s natural landscape and unique beauty.

It comes as Mid Suffolk District Council consults on an application for a 70-metre high wind monitoring mast at Wyverstone, near Stowmarket, to assess the site’s suitability.

The mast would be in place for up to 12 months and could then open the way to an application for three higher turbines at the village’s Potash chicken farm.

The wind turbines could go up as soon as 2008/2009, powering 3,300 properties, if permission is granted.

The man behind the project is 48-year-old Andy Hilton, managing director of Norfolk-based Wind Power Renewables.

He is proud to have been the project manager overseeing the construction of Britain’s two largest offshore wind farms to date – Scroby Sands, off Yarmouth, and Barrow wind farm, off the north-west coast.

He sees turbines as elegant machinery, believes every village should have one, and is now turning his attentions onshore.

He said yesterday: “I think they are wonderful, like sculpture in the landscape. In general there is a very small minority of people who object, most people like them.

“Some do absolutely hate them, but whether people like them or not, there are bigger issues than not liking a big white thing.

“Everyone talks about noise, but they are silent, the industry is full of so much mis-information.”

Mr Hilton said while people were aware of the issue of climate change, there was a wider concern about ensuring energy supplies for the future.

And he added that if every village had a 160 metre high wind turbine, the UK would have enough power.

Andrew Stringer, Green mid Suffolk district councillor whose ward at nearby Mendlesham has been seen as a possible site for turbines, said: “People do have concerns.

“In Suffolk we are living in a flat area and the sky is a major part of our landscape, visitors to the area certainly notice that. There are lots of wind turbines in places like Cornwall and they are often masked from certain angles.

“We have some large structures locally, including the Mendlesham Mast, but I think it is the turbines moving that people are often upset about.

“But we do have pylons as a consequence of generating electricity. Personally I do not find wind turbines that objectionable to the eye.”

Philip Isbell, lead officer in the council’s planning department, said the authority is currently consulting after the application for a test mast for 12 months was received. He said a decision is expected towards the end of next month.

Mr Hilton is holding a public exhibition on July 24 from noon until 8pm at Wyverstone’s village hall where experts will be available to answer any questions people may have about the plans.

Further information is also available from the website www.windpowerrenewables.co.uk

n Plans for 52 giant wind turbines off the coast of Clacton are also to go on display after they were officially submitted to the Government.

Denmark-based DONG Energy yesterday filed an application to increase the size of the proposed wind farm for Gunfleet Sands, which it hopes could power the equivalent of 20% of the homes in Essex.

By John Howard


19 June 2007