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Turbines row set to continue

A six-year wrangle over plans for two giant wind turbines in Norfolk looks set to drag on as a third public inquiry is to be launched next year.

Residents in Shipdham are to be consulted yet again after the Planning Inspectorate decided to quash a decision to allow the building of the turbines this year.

The permission to put up the 100m wind structures on the site was given on appeal after a second public inquiry last year.

But a condition imposed to prevent noise nuisance was challenged by Nicholas and Lee Hoare who live next to the proposed site.

After reviewing the case, the Planning Inspectorate have now replied, informing the parties involved that a third inquiry will be opened early next year, stressing, however, that the exercise will only discuss noise pollution.

Last night, Brian Kidd, speaking for Campaign against Turbines in Shipdham and Scarning (CATSS) welcomed the decision but expressed his misgivings regarding the fact that the inquiry will be conducted by the original inspector – Chris Gossop.

“The inquiry will focus on technical aspects regarding noise,” Mr Kidd said.

“There is a whole series of issues related to turbines not least the fact that they are intrusive to people’s property, and may be unsafe.

“We have witnessed a huge increase in the number of turbines in the area over the last years. We are worried about the effect on health and other issues which are still under debate,” he added.

The original public inquiry was held in 2003 when the plans were rejected on the basis that more information was needed about the noise the blades would make.

Research was done by noise experts on behalf of developers Ecotricity that showed the turbines would not create a disturbance greater than accepted limits. The findings were presented to Breckland Council in 2004, but permission was rejected on the basis of safety posed to Norwich Airport- a concern already dealt with in the second public inquiry last year.

Geoff Hinchliffe, a long-time Shipdham resident and member of Challenge Against Nimbyism in Shipdham (CANIS) said:

“The decision to hold a third public inquiry is plunging us in limbo again. We are constantly told that if we don’t do something to address global warming and switch to green energy we will be badly affected in the not-too-distant future. We have to realise the dangers and choose alternative sources of energy such as wind turbines or solar power. It’s a shame we are dragging our feet over such an important matter, when we could actually do something useful.”

Neither Dr Lee Hoare, nor Ecotricity would comment.


By Aura Sabadus

Eastern Daily Press

18 November 2007