The largest wind farm ever to be built in Cornwall has been earmarked for the redundant airfield at Davidstow.
Energy firm Community Power yesterday unveiled plans to build 20 massive turbines on the site, near the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Each turbine would be 414ft high – twice the size of Nelson’s Column and generating enough energy to power 28,000 homes.
The plans were unveiled at Sir James Smith’s Community School in Camelford yesterday and will go on display today at the Methodist Sunday School in Tremail, where company bosses will be on hand to field questions and discuss residents’ concerns.
But the charm offensive has not impressed anti-wind farm campaigners who are already fighting plans for new turbine clusters at Morwenstow and Hendraburnick.
District councillor Keith Goodenough said that the new plans, coupled with existing schemes at Delabole and Cold Northcott, meant North Cornwall was set to become overloaded with wind farms.
He said: “We don’t object to creating electricity by the wind, but we have got enough turbines in Cornwall. North Cornwall already has its share.
“There are at least 50 in this area and that is just enough. We will fight it all the way.”
The firm behind the project, Cheshire-based Community Power, insists that the giant turbines will be far more efficient than existing, smaller turbines.
The company reckons the Davidstow plant would generate 50 per cent of Cornwall’s renewable energy.
It said the combined output of the wind farm would be 50MW of electricity – enough to power 28,000 homes.
Company director Rod Wood said the firm was keen to consult with local people and listen to their views.
He said: “We are very keen to be as open and transparent as possible and to engage with the local community in this exciting renewable energy proposal. We will listen to local residents and accommodate their ideas and suggestions.
“Our community and educational benefits are directed at the local community and provide real tangible long- term support. For example, we will be investing £1 million to improve domestic energy efficiency and to help people to reduce their carbon emissions in the Camelford area.”
Matthew Spencer, of renewable energy agency Regen SW, urged councillors to be open-minded about the scheme.
He said: “We’d encourage councils in Cornwall to consider new wind proposals with an open mind.
“Wind energy remains the cheapest and most powerful renewable technology available to us at the moment, and Cornwall will not maintain its lead in renewable energy unless some new schemes are approved.”
But campaigners feel under siege from wind farm applications.
Just last week, energy firm Ecotricity announced plans to build four large turbines at Hendraburnick which, it claims, would generate power for 9,000 homes.
And in Morwenstow, West Coast Energy is mounting an appeal after North Cornwall District Council rejected its application to build three 265ft turbines in the parish.
John Moxey, chairman of Morwenstow Against Turbines, said: “We think North Cornwall has done its bit. We would like to see a few other counties doing their bit.
“I would like to see a few more in Devon and Somerset.”
Mr Moxey’s group is fighting an appeal by West Coast Energy to build three windmills in the parish.
The company’s appeal will now be decided by an independent planning inspector, appointed by the government.
Mr Moxey is furious at the decision and has called for a public inquiry.
“These plans have been rejected 12 to 0 by the planning committee, yet they have chosen to appeal by written representation,” he said.
“Our concern is that you can say things in writing that cannot be challenged because you don’t know what other people are saying.
“We would like the matter to be dealt with by a public inquiry.”
The closing date for representations on the Morwenstow application is August 2.
18 July 2007
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