A wind turbine may soon tower over Greenham Common in a bid to promote renewable energy.
Greenham Common Trust chief executive Stuart Tagg told councillors on Friday that he was prepared to consider erecting a turbine at New Greenham Park – already at the centre of a battle over developer ProLogis’ plans to build a vast distribution warehouse.
Mr Tagg said: “Obviously for wind turbines to work they need to be high up, so it would have to be on the high area of the site, anywhere on the northern side of the park.
“Certainly we haven’t got the right sort of location for a wind farm, but we don’t know if it would be one big one or a couple of smaller ones.”
He added: “We haven’t even got a time scale for consultations yet, but we’d like to look at the possibilities. We haven’t got as far as deciding we definitely want one.”
The proposal comes after criticism of West Berkshire Council’s environmental record.
Two weeks ago councillors rejected plans for a turbine at Baydon Meadow, Lambourn in a designated Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), saying it was inefficient, a threat to local industry and an eyesore.
The decision was criticised by environmental groups including while a national newspaper columnist labelled West Berkshire Council “Britain’s most ecologically dismal local authority”.
The Baydon Meadow application will be re-heard by the whole council on December 11.
The leader of West Berkshire Council, Graham Jones (Con, Lambourn) denied the council needed to be seen to back a green scheme after Conservative councillors voted against the turbine in his ward.
”Subject to a planning application being received, a turbine in Greenham does sound like an excellent proposition,” he said.
He said the council was keen to encourage wind turbines, and was considering building them on its own premises.
He said: “We are very keen to support renewable energy, but there are a set of particular issues relating to Baydon Meadow turbine. There is a difference between Greenham Common as it’s not part of the AONB.”
But Greenham Parish Council chairman Tony Forward said that the common was an even worse site for a turbine.
He said: “It’s the right idea, wrong place. It doesn’t have a motorway or Membury mast next to it. It’s just an elevated place which is currently quite peaceful. It seems anything that West Berkshire doesn’t want, Greenham ends up getting.”
He added: “I suppose there would be one practical advantage. If ProLogis build their distribution plant and rent it to a supermarket, ducks could fly straight through the turbine, get chopped up and go straight into the warehouse to be frozen and put on the shelves.”
District councillor Julian Swift-Hook (Lib Dem, Greenham), who previously claimed Greenham is under siege from new developments, said he was not opposed to the idea.
He added: “If a proposal comes forward for Greenham Common, I would want to look at the details of the proposal, but I don’t have a problem with them personally. It’s potentially a very suitable area.”
5 December 2007
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