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Wind power bid gathering force  

As every Nottingham Forest fan knows, the mist rolls in from the Trent … as often does a strong wind.

The prevailing south-westerly breeze follows a mostly unimpeded path along the river as it passes Nottingham.

Now plans have been unveiled to make use of this power as part of an ambitious renewable energy project on the banks of the Trent.

Proposals have been submitted to Rushcliffe Borough Council for a “landmark feature” of three arches, each containing five small wind turbines.

Engineers believe the project will be functional, easy on the eye and “an iconic landmark feature for the scheme and the city”.

The windmill arches are connected to the Ozone project – a £30m-plus scheme to transform the Embankment and The Meadows into a ‘carbon-neutral’ community.

It has about a one-in-six chance of winning £25m of funding from the National Lottery’s Living Landmarks fund.

The rest of the money would come from grants and private investment.

The plan already includes a £9m centrepiece glass tower, changing rooms, an energy learning centre, boiler house and cafe under the war memorial at Victoria Embankment.

A 65-metre high single wind turbine is ‘plan A’ for creating power for the project, street lighting and the local community.

But now Nottingham City Council has submitted an application for ‘plan B’ – the wind turbine array – to Rushcliffe Borough Council.

It would be housed on the southern side of the river, between Wilford Toll Bridge and the new Emmanuel School – which the group behind the project hopes will have power supplied by the turbines.

The turbine array would generate enough power for more than 100 homes, whereas the single turbine could power more than 150.

Architect Julian Marsh, who is on the Ozone project board, said the single turbine was still the favourite but there was always the ambition to extend the scheme.

The three arches – about 250 metres end to end near Ironmongers Pond – would each hold five nine metre diameter turbines, up to 30 metres high. They would be held up with guy cables.

To give some sense of scale, the arch at the new Wembley stadium stands at 133 metres at its highest and spans 315 metres. Radcliffe-on-Soar power station’s chimneys are 90m high. Mike Rainbow, from consultant engineers Arup – which also played a key role in developing the Inland Revenue building at the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee campus – said that, although it was not the direct inspiration for the turbines ‘bow array’, the structure did have local connotations with Robin Hood’s bow.

Having studied arches at Wembley and the Athens Olympic stadium, he said: “We are demonstrating that arches are a statement in their own right.”

The aim was for 50% of power to be used locally and 50% to be sold to the national grid to subsidise local householders switching to green electricity suppliers.

Engineers say the noise levels of both wind turbine proposals would be below the European limit for nearby residents.

Nigel Hawkins, from Nottingham City Council, which submitted the planning application, is chairman of the Ozone project steering group.

He stressed that the proposed arches at this stage were not included in the main project, but potential for future expansion.

But Notts Wildlife Trust has already objected to the proposal, fearing that it would lead to the destruction of part of Trentside, designated a site of importance for nature conservation. “We are also extremely concerned about the potential impact on European protected species, particularly bats, which are known to forage in this area,” said spokesman Erin McDaid. “The hazard posed by wind turbines to birds has been known for some time.”

He said no assessment of the impact on flora and fauna had been made.

By Kevin Peachey

Evening Post

19 July 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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