The public meeting organised by the Dickleburgh & Rushall Parish Council exceeded all expectations with a turnout of an estimated 250+ residents filled the Village Centre and overflowed into the car park.
The top table was occupied by the Chairman of the Parish Council, Terry Clarkson who chaired the meeting, Parish Cllr,Vice Chairman, Trevor Leeder, SNDC Cllr. Martin Wilby, SNDC Planning Officer, Richard Cooper and author Terence Blacker.
Opening the meeting by greeting the massive turnout, the Chair read out letters of apology for non-attendance from local MP Richard Bacon, who unable to attend due to Parliamentary commitments, pledged his support against the Wind farm proposals.
Perhaps of greater significance was the non-attendance of SLP Energy & C.A. West & Son, the two major parties concerned with the original concept of the Wind farm, and the considerable financial benefits they would accrue there from. Both parties taking the view that their attendance would not enable them to make specific statements on the issues, as the project was still in an exploratory stage.
Understandably the meeting was not at all impressed with this stance.
The Chair passed the floor to Richard Cooper (SNDC Planning Officer) who explained the situation providing details of the processes the “Scoping Opinion”, planning permission for the erection of the “temporary “exploratory mast and final planning application for the Wind Farm would go through.
The first requirement is the “Scoping Opinion” process that requires the applicants to satisfy the local authority on a series of issues that impact not only on the Planning Department but virtually every department and therefore every committee on the SNDC – so ALL Councillors will be involved in the process as their input would be significant.
The meeting was then addressed by author and resident Terence Blacker who gave details of the implications of allowing such a project in the rural surroundings. The preparation of the site would involve serious logistical issues for the contractors required to set up the turbines.
This would involve incredible amounts of concrete, enormous trailers to carry the parts of the turbines that would place an intolerable – even impossible – strain on the already crowded (and narrow) roads around the area even before the residents suffered the noise pollution and other side effects inflicted by the turbines. This was a comprehensive presentation addressing many of the issues detrimental to the local populace and environment utilising published figures from actual case studies.
SNDC Cllr. Martin Wilby, born and bred in Dickleburgh, followed, stating that his position was that whilst he was very supportive of creating “green” energy, that the place for wind turbines was off the coast and not inland. Stating that he was totally opposed to the erection of Wind turbines on the proposed sites. This was applauded by the packed audience.
The Chair of the meeting, Parish Cllr. Terry Clarkson upon being asked about his position on the issue stated much the same as Cllr. Wilby – that he was totally opposed to the proposals.
At this point questions and observations were taken from the audience that were mainly directed at the Planning Officer and it was made clear that the audience were also opposed to the erection of the exploratory mast.
Finally a vote was called for and the Chairman asked for those in favour of the project to raise their hands. Not surprisingly no one did! When asked for any abstentions by those who wished to explore the circumstances further, 10 voted leaving some 250 + against the proposals. A massive and overwhelming majority.
What came from the meeting was the fact that it was important to maintain sustained pressure upon all those in the decision making process – Council Officers, Councillors and Committees by every individual at the meeting. Taking into account that ALL departments/committees will be involved in the process not only “Planning” but also “Highways”, “Environment” etc.
It was therefore desirable that concerted and continual pressure by way of letters, e-mails and telephone calls should be exercised upon all those concerned in the decision making process.
The reference numbers to be used when sending in correspondence etc are 2007/1342 for the Scoping Opinion exercise and 2007/1357 for the Mast Erection.
It is advisable that separate communications are addressed to these references rather than a single document.
The meeting closed 9.00pm.
Some useful e-mail address and an informative web site.
The Action Group firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Cooper (SNDC Senior planning officer) email@example.com
Richard Bacon (your Member of Parliament) firstname.lastname@example.org
SLP Energy (The developer) email@example.com
C A West & Son (The land owner) firstname.lastname@example.org
An informative web site. www.wind-watch.org
27 July 2007