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Old airstrip may become wind farm  

A wind farm could be built on Cambridgeshire farmland, if proposals published this week come to fruition.

Local councils have reacted cautiously to npower’s plan for eight wind turbines on the site of the former RAF Graveley, now part of Cotton Farm, between the villages of Great Paxton, Graveley, Offord D’Arcy and Toseland.

Although the site could produce enough electricity to meet the average energy needs of between 7,000 and 10,000 homes, concerns have been raised over the potential harm to the landscape and wildlife, and the noise made by the turbines.

Leaflets providing details of the turbines, which could be up to 125m tall, have been sent to 6,000 homes within a 5km radius of the site.

The announcement comes just months after residents of Linton, south Cambridgeshire, set up an action group to protest against plans for a similar wind farm on the outskirts of their village.

Keith McConnell, chairman of Graveley Parish Council, said: “We will be assessing all of the information to see whether this is a good or bad project for Graveley, and we will be seeking the views of villagers.

“It will be on the agenda of our next meeting and we are monitoring developments in the meantime.”

Ann Tossell, chairwoman of Toseland Parish Council, said: “It’s very early days, but the people I have spoken to so far have not been very happy.

“We will be discussing this at our next meeting.”

npower is currently seeking the opinions of local residents, and has commissioned a number of environmental studies. For many years the company has had a wind monitoring mast on the disused airfield, which housed the RAF Pathfinder force between 1942 and 1945.

It already has an option on a rental agreement with the local farmer, and hopes to host a number of public exhibitions in the new year before submitting a planning application.

npower’s renewables developer Kim Gauld-Clark said: “Climate change is something that affects everybody, and wind power allows us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and secure our energy supply for the future.”

He added npower, which has been testing wind speeds at the airfield, would carry out further detailed studies before a planning application was considered.

The part of the airfield where the wind farm would be built falls into Huntingdonshire District Council’s area and a spokesman for the authority said any planning application would be dealt with in the normal way with views of parish councils being sought.

Anyone with comments or suggestions about the proposal can email Kim on cottonfarm@npower-renewables.com /p>

Cambridge Evening News

16 November 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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