Green energy company Enertrag was last night slated for failing to attend a public meeting to discuss the firm’s proposal for a seven- turbine wind farm at Hempnall.
Called by the parish council, the meeting was designed to give people the opportunity to air their views and ask questions about the 130m-high turbines.
Among those raising concerns at the packed village hall were South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and members of protest group Showt.
Mr Bacon said: “It is a great disappointment to me that Enertrag cannot be bothered to turn up. If there’s really nothing to worry about, you would think they’d be looking for every single opportunity and here there are 200 people present. I think that speaks volumes about their attitude.
“There is increasing doubt now about the strength of the case for wind turbines. On economy of scale the best place to have them is off shore.”
Hilary Battye, of Showt, told the meeting: “The visual impact of these giant industrial structures on the local rural landscape would be quite unacceptable.
“South Norfolk Council’s own policy and planning guidance acknowledges that, in terms of visual intrusion, such an area would be highly sensitive to wind turbines of this size.”
She said they would be clearly seen from Hempnall and surrounding villages.
Farmer Jane Davis played a recording of the noise of a nearby wind farm that has forced her family to abandon their Lincoln-shire home and move into rented accommodation five miles away.
“We are here to demonstrate the devastating effect of wind turbines when they are near to homes. In the east of England, because of static air conditions, you get this whoomph, whoomph. It’s the helicopter effect,” she explained.
Experts at the MoD now object to about half of onshore wind turbines because of concerns they affect radar.
But a spokesman told the EDP it was unable to comment on the Hempnall proposal until official planning permission was sought.
Speaking yesterday, Enertrag’s project engineer, Terry Chapelow, said they had advised the parish council in advance of their decision not to attend.
“We find from past experience that these meetings turn into a public circus, and are hijacked. We feel we have done adequate consultation with people at various exhibitions in the area. People on both sides of the fence can come and talk to us, and we have got our site at North Pickenham. We say come and see and judge for yourselves,” he said.
The Diss-based company was granted consent for a meteorological mast at the site earlier this year, and Mr Chapelow said they would submit a planning application after Christmas.
By Celia Wigg
3 November 2007
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