Villagers have launched a campaign to stop a developer building a wind farm on a green-field site in the heart of rural Suffolk.
Mid Suffolk District Council has given the go-ahead for a 70-metre high wind monitoring mast at Wyverstone, near Stowmarket.
The structure will be in place for up to a year and could lead to an application for two turbines in the village in the coming years – powering around 4,400 properties.
Stop Wyverstone Wind farm Action Group (SWWAG) opposes the proposed development in Potash Lane and Dr Neil Macey, a Stowmarket GP and SWWAG’s chairman, claimed there was huge support for the campaign, with a recent meeting attended by more than 50 people.
He said: “We are not against sustainable energy but believe inland wind farms have not proven to be sustainable and wind farms should be located off shore or alternative sources should be investigated. This will be only 500 metres from people’s homes, well under the 2,000 metres recommended.
“The wind turbines’ visual impact will affect many villages including Long Thurlow, Badwell Ash, Westhorpe and Walsham-Le-Willows.”
Alastair Sharp, who has farmed north of Westhorpe for 25 years, said: “I have farmed locally all my life, this is a totally unspoilt area of Suffolk countryside. These turbines are massive and I do not see why we should have them.”
The man behind the project is Andy Hilton, managing director of Norfolk based Wind Power Renewables. He was project manager for the construction of Britain’s two largest offshore wind farms to date – Scroby Sands off Yarmouth and Barrow wind farm, off the north west coast.
Mr Hilton said: “I think they are fantastic pieces of engineering, they are attractive, like sculptures in the landscape, and they are silent.
“I believe 85% of people are positive about this, there is just a vocal 15% opposing it. I am not worried by this campaign, this is pretty normal, and they are not asking that we cannot answer. We are very positive and very buoyant about the project.”
Residents have dropped leaflets into homes, launched a petition, lobbied their MP David Ruffley, and are now planning to develop a website.
By John Howard
9 October 2007
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