A wind turbine taller than the tower of Big Ben could be built in Poole if plans submitted to the council get the go ahead.
The proposed 100m high turbine – almost twice the height of Nelson’s Column – would be less than 250m from some homes and visible from sites across the are.
Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water has submitted an application for the generator at its site in Alderney in a bid to make the power-hungry treatment works greener.
The structure, which would be 75m from floor to hub, with 25m blades, would have an 850 kw capacity and create enough electricity to light up more than 12,000 bulbs.
It could meet 60 per cent of the power requirement of the works, which treat water from The River Avon and the Stour to supply the area. Any surplus would be sold back to the national grid.
It could also cut CO2 emissions by 776 tonnes a year, according to the water company’s figures.
Though located on industrial land, the turbine would be flanked on two sides by residential property. Homes on Belben Road are closest, and properties on Francis Avenue are between 250 and 500 metres away.
Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water has already assessed the potential impact, which could include visual, noise and environmental effects, shadow flicker and even interference with television reception.
Technical director Roger Harrington said: “We don’t anticipate anyone living nearby will notice any discernible increase in noise.”
He said the structure would be visible from quite a long way away’ in some directions.
He added: “That is one of the things due planning process has to deal with. Planners have to consider whether this is an acceptable footprint on the landscape in terms of visual impact.”
He added: “We’re happy to meet people and answer questions, and explain why we’re doing it and what the benefits are.
“There are a combination of global environmental benefits and the benefits to us and our customers. In the end you have to weigh those things up.”
The site is suitable for a turbine as it’s on a rise and facing Poole harbour and the Purbecks, allowing it to take advantage of south-westerly winds.
Alderney ward councillor Lyndsay Wilson said she wanted more information.
“It’s a very big application which needs good consultation with the residents,” she said. “We all need to be educated a bit more.
“I’m all for reducing our carbon footprint, but at what cost. Is this really going to be effective?”
Cllr Wilson said she had called for a meeting with residents to explain the application.
By Juliette Astrup
29 October 2007
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