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Energy-saving plan blows up a storm in village  

Strong opposition has forced a village school to backtrack on forward-thinking plans for an energy efficient wind turbine.

Governors at Brookmead School in Ivinghoe had submitted a planning application to council bosses for a wind turbine that could produce up to 60 per cent of the school’s electricity.

However, they have since withdrawn the proposal following a public outcry.

Since submitting the application with Aylesbury Vale District Council leaflets opposing the wind turbine had been handed out at the school’s gates and were placed on tables at the village’s annual Summer Ball last month (June).

Despite this governors still plan to push ahead with the proposal but first want to get the local community behind them.

Dave Sivers, a spokesman for the school, said: “There was some controversy in the village and our governors attended a public meeting about it. We decided to withdraw the planning application to allow us to conduct a public consultation to make sure our plans for renewable energy will be supported by the local community.”

The wind turbine will be set on a 15 metre high mast and is part of the school’s agenda for renewable energy.

Mr Sivers said: “We think some of the concerns have been based on misconceptions about the size and visibility of the wind turbine

“Even in the strongest winds it can’t be heard above the sound of the wind itself beyond 60 metres. The nearest house to the turbine is at least 120 metres away.

“Because of the position we are looking to put it in we don’t believe it will be very visible from most places.”

Other energy-saving plans are to replace the school’s ancient oil-fired boilers with a wood fuel one and to use a ground source heat pump to provide under-floor heating to any new buildings.

Chair of governors Kirk Rogers, said: “Fossil fuels are running out. By continuing to burn them to generate energy, we not only hasten the day when there will be none left, but we also damage the environment. The problem won’t go away.”

He said it had been necessary to move quickly in submitting the planning application because government funding is currently up for grabs.

Mr Rogers said: “The governors have been keen to seize this opportunity to take our plans forward whilst grants are still available, which enables us to do so without diverting scarce funds from other areas of the school budget. Perhaps, with hindsight, we moved a little too quickly.”

The school is now in the process of drawing up a public consultation.

The plans for the wind turbine, along with images of how it would look, can be seen in the school’s window at the front entrance.


12 July 2007

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