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Wind farm plan for Lotus test track

Green energy company Ecotricity has submitted plans to build a wind farm in the centre of the Lotus test track at Hethel.

The Norfolk sports car manufacture announced, in April, that it had joined forces with Ecotricity in a drive to minimise its carbon emissions and help combat global warming by producing renewable power on site.

Lotus has carried out extensive assessment of its premises, demonstrating the potential for a wind park comprising three 120m high turbines capable of generating 6 megawatts – the equivalent of the annual electricity demand of 5248 homes.

It is anticipated the turbines would supply all Lotus’ electrical needs, with enough surplus power for 1,300 local homes.

Ecotricity has held a public exhibition at Hethel to outline the proposals, and the district council has carried out a scoping opinion seeking the views and advice of all statutory bodies concerned.

These include the Civil Aviation Authority, which has advised the development might have the potential to affect operations at Norwich Airport and Hethel Airfield. It has suggested it may be necessary to install aviation obstruction lighting on some, or all of the turbines, if the wind park gets the go-ahead.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said: “This is an exciting project, and I’m delighted that Lotus is taking its responsibility to the environment so seriously. The company won’t be spending any additional money on its energy supply, but will have peace of mind knowing that it’s all part of a growing movement to redress climate change.”

Mike Kimberley, chief executive of Group Lotus, added: “By sourcing our electricity needs for our Hethel headquarters in Norfolk from these wind turbines, we can contribute to reducing our corporate CO2 emissions dramatically and provide a definitive demonstration of our commitment to the environment.”

South Norfolk Council is currently consulting on the application which is due to be determined later this year. The deadline for comments is July 19.

Colin Rudd, chairman of Bracon Ash and Hethel Parish Council, said: “We have a meeting on July 16. Obviously this is on the agenda, and after that we will be formulating a response to the proposal.”

Diss Mercury

11 July 2007