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I can understand windfarm concerns — council chairman

Proposals for a five-turbine wind farm between Bilsthorpe and Eakring will have an ‘adverse impact’ on the landscape, leading councillors have admitted.

Developers Harworth Power and Eakring Farming submitted controversial new plans earlier this year for the 100m-high turbines at two locations – the former Bilsthorpe Colliery site and Stonish Hill, near Eakring.

The project was discussed by Nottinghamshire County Council’s cabinet last Wednesday, and although members did not object to the plans they raised a number of concerns to Newark & Sherwood District Council – which will decide on the plans.

A report presented to cabinet members said there would be a major visual impact from the large turbines, but this could be outweighed by the environmental benefits of using renewable energy.

It says: “The scale of the development is considered to be beyond the capacity of the landscape within which it is set, resulting in a dominating feature with a significant visual impact upon a wide area of landscape that is sensitive to change.”

The reports adds that the wind farm, which is expected to produce electricity for up to 5,500 households, would help the county meet targets for producing renewable energy.

Two protest groups – the Eakring Turbine Action Group (ETAG) and Bilsthorpe Residents Against Turbines (BRATS) – have been set up fight against the plans, amid concerns the two sites are unsuitable and the turbines will blight the landscape.

And Coun David Kirkham, leader of the county council, told Chad after the meeting he understood the concerns of residents.

He said: “We didn’t raise any objections, but we are asking the planning committee to take into consideration some of the issues we are making.

“Generally, I have got nothing against windfarms producing energy, but I can understand the concerns there are about noise. When it is near people’s houses I can understand the worries they have.”

In November last year planning chiefs at Newark & Sherwood District Council turned down plans for a similar scheme with seven turbines in the same location.

At the time fears were raised by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that the turbines would interfere with radar – but developers hope they have tackled this by having fewer turbines at a lower height.

By Helen Lambourne

chad.co.uk

21 September 2007