A plan to put up wind turbines at the Bernard Matthews farm hit by bird flu has been delayed because of the clean-up operation.
The turkey giant wants to build two wind turbines at its farm in Holton, near Halesworth. But although it has got planning permission for the 50 metre mast which will test the wind speed, it is unlikely to be able to put it up for at least two months.
Defra is still overseeing the clean-up procedures on the premises where the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was spotted at the beginning of February. The farm on the former airfield is lying empty, although the factory next door is up and running.
Bill Richmond, whose Ipswich-based renewable energy firm Bineri is working with Bernard Matthews to put up the turbines, said: “We won’t be putting up the mast for two months or so, as Defra still has control of the site. That has rather delayed everything on this one. We applied months ago before all this was going on, and we have been caught out like everyone else.”
The test mast will be in the middle of the former runway, off Scalesbrook Lane in Holton, though the exact location of the turbines will depend on wind speed results.
He said the turbines would be similar in size to Gulliver at Ness Point in Lowestoft or those at North Pickenham, near Swaffham, making them about 125m tall. The 2-2.5MW turbines should power about 20,000 households. The mast will stay up for a year to see whether the wind at the site is suitable, and a planning application for the turbines will follow that.
Mr Richmond said it was too early to say when the turbines might go up.
“It is a long way away at the moment as we haven’t even got access to the site. The worldwide demand for turbines at the moment is so high that it is possible that there may be delays in getting the parts.”
Michael Hart, chairman of Holton Parish Council, said: “Generally speaking the parish council is in favour of anything that is environmentally sound. The Matthews site is quite away from the main village, there isn’t a lot of housing round there where they intend to put them up.”
District councillor Wendy Mawer said: “I have had one or two concerned calls, the concern being that they don’t want them sited too close. In general most people seem comfortable with it.”
Bernard Matthews, which declined to comment on the scheme yesterday, is also planning to put up two turbines at each of its sites in Weston Longville and North Pickenham.
People with an opinion on the two proposed wind turbines at Kessingland, near Lowestoft, still have a chance to comment on the plans. Although the application was submitted in December, Waveney District Council realised it had failed to advertise the scheme as a departure from the local plan. There is a deadline of July 26 to comment on the scheme by SLP Energy, which involves one turbine at Africa Alive and one on farmland near the A12.
13 July 2007
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