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Turbines 'waste of taxpayers' money'

Wind turbines earmarked for the roof of two council buildings are an ineffective and expensive publicity stunt, according to residents.

Plans to put six of the eco-friendly structures on top of Kings House in Grand Avenue, Hove, and another on the lawns outside have been recommended for approval ahead of a meeting on Wednesday.

The turbines would supply part of the council’s electricity and would be funded by £200,000 from the government’s Carbon Trust and £250,000 of taxpayers’ money.

City council officers said planning consent should be given because the turbines would help cut the authority’s carbon emissions and denied they would have an impact on neighbours.

But Ray Farrow, who runs renewable energy company Wind Power Energy, said the officers were using the wrong type of turbines which do not have the power to make a difference to the authority’s carbon footprint.

He said they had plumped for style over substance and opted for new models which would not do the job.

The turbine expert, of St Aubyns, Hove, said the chosen machines were a waste of money and that a mixture of solar panels and smaller but more powerful turbines would be a better option.

Mr Farrow said: “I have spent some time looking through the proposed installation of wind turbines and have come to the conclusion it is an expensive publicity stunt. It will have little impact on Kings House’s carbon footprint.

“It is just being put there to say: We have gone green.’ It’s a waste of £250,000.

“What we need is a proper survey to see how we can really improve energy.”

The plans have also been criticised by residents living close to the council buildings. Two petitions with more than 70 signatures have been presented to the council to express their disapproval.

Residents said the turbines would be a noisy and expensive eyesore. City councillor Jan Young, who represents the area, said: “Nobody in Grand Avenue wants the planning application.”

By Katya Mira

The Argus

29 October 2007