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Anger at second wind turbine bid on the South Downs  

Conservationists are furious after plans were unveiled for a second wind turbine on the South Downs.

Southern Gas Networks wants to put an eight metre high turbine at a gas pressure reducing station at Juggs Road, Kingston, near Lewes.

It would replace a faulty electrical cable and the supply would then be powered by the turbine.

But Kingston Parish Council, the South Downs Society and English Heritage are objecting to the plans.

They say the turbine would ruin the visual impact of the area and affect an ancient monument which is located next to the proposed site.

Lewes District Council has recommended that the plan is given the go-ahead.

But Councillor Jackie Rowland, chairwoman of Kingston Parish Council, said: “This is not to save the planet, it is simply to save the cost of relaying a cable.

“The location is close to a national trail. It is a very special site and the views are wonderful, but it will be spoiled by a wind turbine.

“The argument is that there is already the gas station there, but that is underground. I just don’t see the logic.

“The benefits of the turbine do not justify the negative impact it will have on the area.”

Coun Rowland also warned that single turbines in such rural settings are at risk from thieves or vandals.

The issue will be discussed at a Lewes council planning meeting on Wednesday.

The proposed site is yards from an ancient monument comprising a series of prehistoric earthworks.

A spokesman for English Heritage said: “We believe the proposed wind turbine would have a detrimental affect on the scheduled monument.

“The monument would not be overshadowed by the turbine, but its visible presence and movement of the rotor blades so close to the monument would be incongruous in this open downland setting.”

English Heritage has recommended the council ask Southern Gas Networks to reconsider the location and the height of the mast.

Two letters of objection have also been sent to the council. One from a local resident and one from the Mid Sussex Area Bridleways Group, which argues the noise of the rotating turbine blade will startle nearby horses.

There are already plans to construct a 70m turbine on land owned by the Glyndebourne Opera House in Ringmer.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears called in the application after it was initially approved by Lewes District Council.

Glyndebourne also wants to put a 50m meteorological mast on the site for a year to measure wind direction and strength.

The Argus revealed that controversial plans for wind turbines on a Brighton and Hove City Council building are now back on the table.

The scheme for King’s House, Grand Avenue, Hove, have been sent back to the planning committee after opposition councillors outnumbered the ruling Conservative group who wanted to shelve the plans.

One 65ft device is proposed for Hove Lawns and six smaller turbines on the roof of the council headquarters.

Are wind turbines an eyesore or a necessity? Tell us what you think below.

By Simon Barrett

The Argus

18 January 2008

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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