November 27, 2007

Special Report: Discontent over turbine proposal

A public meeting has been called to discuss controversial proposals to erect 13 wind turbines across a swathe of Fenland countryside.

Peterborough City Council planning chiefs are currently assessing applications for two separate schemes on neighbouring strips of land abutting the Cambridgeshire border.

Renewable Energy Systems (RES) wants to put up six 80-metre turbines on Wryde Croft, two miles north west of Thorney.

Immediately to the south, on a site known as Nutsgrove, WPR Wind Ltd, a joint venture between Wind Prospect Developments and Ridge Wind, envisages raising seven 60-metre turbines.

The outcome of both applications is likely to be announced in December, prompting a decision by campaign group Fenland Against Rural Turbines to call a public meeting.

A meeting held 18 months ago attracted more than 300 people and a similar turnout is anticipated. South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes has been invited, along with the two city councillors who represent the Eye and Thorney ward, David Sanders and John Bartlett.

Today, the chairman of Fenland Against Rural Turbines Phillip Potts said there were deep misgivings about the proposed windfarms.

Mr Potts believes a decision on the turbine applications should be delayed until after the conclusion of a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) investigation into noise pollution caused by the giant structures.

He cited the example of Deeping St Nicholas farmer Jane Davis who was forced to leave her home because of the loud “swishing and humming noise” generated by the turbines.

Mr Potts said: “We respectfully ask that any application for wind turbines is taken after the findings of Defra’s investigation. We do not want the Fens to become a dumping ground for these inefficient systems.”

And Mr Potts believes wind energy subsidies would be better directed towards the development of underwater turbines that give a constant 24-hour output.

Cllr Sanders added: “Wind turbines are not in keeping with the immediate vicinity of the flat Fenland landscape. While I am not against wind power, Thorney is just not the right place for it.”

The public meeting will be held in Gedney Village Hall, on Tuesday, December 4, starting at 7.30pm.

Turbines in area

Ther Peterborough area is already home to one of the largest concentration of windfarms in the UK.

The latest additions to the skyline are three 80-metre turbines powering the McCain factory in Whittlesey.

In the countryside surrounding March, there are five windfarms, including Glass Moor, Long Hill Road, Ransonmoor Farm, Stags Holt and Red Tile, which are home to a combined 35 turbines.

There are another eight turbines at a site in Deeping St Nicholas.

In February, Anglian Water announced plans to erect four 80-metre turbines on its sewage works site in Third Drove, Fengate, which is a quarter of a mile from the Flag Fen bronze age site. A consultation has been held, but a planning application has not been submitted.

Last month, villagers in Marshland St James, near Wisbech, voted overwhelmingly against proposals to put up wind turbines close to their homes in a poll organised by the parish council.

By Jonny Muir

Peterborough Today

27 November 2007

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