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Mast to test wind farm credentials  

Planners will be asked on Thursday to approve a wind farm company’s plan for a temporary 80-metre high test mast near Wareham.

The aim is for a two-year assessment of the suitability of a site at Masters Pit with an anemometer mast – known as a “met mast” – for the eventual production of renewable energy from a clutch of turbines.

Wimborne company Infinergy has staged an exhibition on its proposals for a six-turbine wind farm at the site south of Puddletown Road after which it said it expected to put in its plans to Purbeck District Council.

Residents at Middlefield Cottages housing estate at East Stoke object to the plan, worried that they might be disturbed by lighting and noise.

Planners and the district council’s landscape expert consider the mast will inevitably have a significant impact on the immediate landscape.

A test has already been run at the site using a shorter mast. The results from that are said not to have been good enough to assess the site’s viability for a wind farm project.

After the exhibition of its proposals, Infinergy said the majority of comments left by two-thirds of the 300-plus locals had been positive.

The company has linked up with local landowner Will Bond for the Alaska Wind Farm project which it is claimed has a potential to generate enough electrical power for almost half the 21,000 homes in the Purbeck district.

The wind farm turbines would each be 84 metres high to their hubs with the tips of the blades adding an additional 41 metres.

Battle lines over the wind farm proposal are already developing around Purbeck – even before the main application is submitted.

Supporters maintain renewable energy has to be part of the energy provision package for the future.

Critics argue that wind turbines are not that efficient and say that although Masters Pit is just outside the area of outstanding natural beauty any masts will be a blot on the landscape. They also claim migrating birds could be at risk.

Dorset Echo

28 January 2008

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