Campaign group hopes Government announcement strengthens its fight against plans for wind farms near Harrold and Podington.
Protesters fighting plans for a wind farm on the boundary of north Bedfordshire have welcomed the Government’s announcement that it intends to build 7,000 off-shore turbines by 2020.
Campaign group Bozeat and Lavendon Oppose the Turbines (BLOT) said the proposal, unveiled on Tuesday, shows that the Government is committed to off-shore wind power as the main source of renewable electricity generation, rather than inland development.
All UK homes could be powered by wind farms located off Britain’s coasline within 13 years as part of the fight against climate change, Business Secretary John Hutton said.
He admitted it would change the face of Britain’s shores, and mean higher electricity bills, but senior Tory Alan Duncan backed the idea.
BLOT was formed with 100 members to oppose plans filed in August 2006 by energy giant npower, part of the German-owned RW Energy Group, for 16 wind turbines at Nun Wood.
The turbines would measure 125m in height and with blades 90m long, at a site bordered by Bozeat, Lavendon and Harrold.
In June 2005 plans for another a nine-turbine project at Airfield Farm, near Podington, were submitted by Dutch firm Nuon Renewables.
That application was refused by Bedford Borough Council in June but an appeal has just been lodged days within the six-month deadline.
That proposal is being opposed by The Campaign to Limit Onshore Windfarm Development (CLOWD).
BLOT chairman Brian Skittrall said of the Government announcement: “This decision is very welcome if long overdue.
“The science has been there for a long time but, as usual, nobody wanted to pay the additional cost to do what is right. Thankfully this is about to change and we will no longer have to watch our countryside being destroyed in the name of protecting the environment.
“It seems that the Government is at last listening to the people on this issue instead of trying to bully them into accepting the unacceptable with moral blackmail and by branding them as NIMBYs.
“I only hope that this signals an end to the local applications that would generate so little electricity but destroy our beautiful and tranquil countryside. At least developers will no longer be able to tell us that there is no alternative to their proposals because this announcement clearly makes them obsolete.”
BLOT says onshore wind farms are destructive to the landscape, unpopular with those that have to live with them and far less productive than offshore turbines.
A spokesman said: “Offshore wind farms have long been the obvious solution both for technical and political reasons. Offshore turbines generate more power, more often and more steadily than onshore turbines. The same turbine mounted out at sea would be expected to generate three times as much electricity offshore as it would locally. This is because at sea the winds are stronger, more reliable and steadier.
“The one thing that has held back development has been the fact that the cost of building offshore are greater than for building on land, but the subsidies given to developers were the same. With the changes due to the subsidy regime in 2011, offshore wind farms will be given a higher level of subsidy than onshore wind farms.
“It is important that we do not destroy our beautiful coast with wall to wall turbines, but with due care over siting, large wind farms can be built that are barely noticeable from the shore.”
12 December 2007
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