Controversial plans for 26 giant wind turbines in Congham have been scrapped following a shock U-turn decision, it was revealed yesterday.
Farmer Michael Mason has backed out of the scheme, and will not be allowing developers to build a wind farm on his land, between the village and Little Massingham.
The news comes as a welcome relief to action group Against Congham Turbines (ACT), which was formed in response to the plans around five months ago.
Members have been engaged in a full-scale campaign, involving people from eight surrounding villages and North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham.
It is not yet clear why Mr Mason has taken the unexpected step, but it is thought pressure from anti-turbine campaigners played a part in his decision. He declined to comment to the Lynn News yesterday.
Mr Robin Tims, ACT secretary, said: “The group clearly welcomes the news but there’s no question of a victory – we should just resume our daily lives and be grateful for the decision.
“Mr Mason is not specifying his reasons, so we don’t really know why. I think pressure from protestors contributed, but was not a major factor.
“We have advised people to take down all the signs and stickers in the village and we have cancelled the next public meeting. The next step is to look at returning funding to donors.”
International renewable enery operator Iberdola, of Spain, was behind the scheme, and had already begun preparing an environmental report to assess its impact.
The turbines could have had 67-metre (220ft) towers – three times higher than Grimston church tower – and be 110 metres wide, although a planning application was yet to be lodged.
Speaking yesterday, Mr James Innes, senior project manager at Iberdrola, told the Lynn News: “We received a letter from the landowner this morning and he is withdrawing from the scheme. We have taken the project as far as we could, but he has decided not to continue and we are supporting him.”
Mr Tims added: “Lots of people and businesses have been very generous with their time. We would like to thank the supporters – they have all been magnificent.
“We shall remain alert and on our guard for similar schemes in our area. Some people were prompted to delve into turbines, and around three or four have got really interested.
“I think they will go on to offer support to other protest groups.”
By Daisy Wallage
26 June 2007
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