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Turbine D-Day (again)  

Councillors are set to decide, yet again, whether a controversial wind turbine can be built high above Baydon Meadow near Lambourn.

A planning committee rejected the application last month as councillors split on party lines over the application.

Three Liberal Democrat members were outvoted by seven Conservative councillors, but forced the application to be re-heard by the full council tonight (Tuesday).

Critics attacked the turbine as inefficient, an eyesore, dangerous to planes flying from Membury airfield and a threat to the local horseracing industry.

Environmental campaigners picketed the council offices before the meeting and claimed the council was only paying lip service to promoting renewable energy.

Protestors are not expected to return tonight, but the full council meeting may become heated as the spat between the two parties deepens.

Newbury Friends of the Earth’s Adrian Foster-Fletcher said: “This week the Government has announced the intention to build seven thousand wind turbines around the coast of Britain. In West Berkshire, the Conservatives have turned down one.”

He said that while David Cameron was promoting his party as green, local Conservatives had not caught up with the national mood.

“Local Conservatives need to realise they’re now part of a party that supports green issues, and they’ve been elected to be green in West Berkshire,” he said.

But Dr Peter Cox, chairman of Lambourn Parish Council who opposed the plans, said that the viability of the local airfield outweighed the turbine’s benefits.

Dr Cox and the airfield’s owner told councillors in November how the turbine would stand dangerously close to the line of the runway in bad weather.

“I’m reasonably confident about the result tonight,” Dr Cox said.

“I think it is looking very difficult to turn down the safety concerns from the airfield’s point of view.”
He said that the parish relied on the airfield to provide jobs.

Planning officers are recommending that the council reject the planning application, which will be heard in the council chamber at 7:00pm tonight (Tuesday).

By Liam Sloan, Online reporter

Newbury Today

11 December 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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