Controversial plans to build five giant wind turbines between Bilsthorpe and Eakring are expected to be given the go-ahead on Tuesday.
Planning officers at Newark & Sherwood District Council have recommended councillors approve the plans for five 100m-high turbines for a 25-year period at two locations – the former Bilsthorpe Colliery site and Stonish Hill, near Eakring.
In November 2006 planning chiefs turned down proposals for a similar scheme with seven taller turbines – but developers Harworth Power and Eakring Farming put in new plans in June last year.
Protest groups the Eakring Turbine Action Group (ETAG) and Bilsthorpe Residents Against Turbines (BRATS), which helped persuade planners to reject the initial proposals, are no happier with the new plans.
They have both lodged objections based on a number of complaints, including environmental issues, visual impact, noise and failure to address planning policies.
Said ETAG vice-chairman Shirley Burnett: “It is basically environmental issues we are concerned about and the quality of life we are going to have for the next 25 years. The turbines are going to dwarf the villages of Bilsthorpe and Eakring.
“We are not against turbines – we are just against them when they are at inappropriate sites.”
Newark & Sherwood District Council has received 632 letters of objection –– 529 from residents in the two villages –– with people raising concerns such as light flicker, impact on wildlife and aviation safety.
But there have also been 1,072 letters and emails and a 96-signature petition in support of the wind farm.
And a spokesman for Harworth Power, which is a subsidiary of UK Coal, told Chad the company had worked to address previous concerns about the turbines.
One reason the initial plans were rejected was because of fears from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that the turbines would interfere with their radar, but with fewer turbines at a lower height this is unlikely to be a problem.
“This country has got targets for producing more of its energy from renewable sources and wind turbines are at the forefront of that,” the spokesman said.
“We are an energy company and believe the changes to the application address some, if not all, of the concerns, particularly those of the MOD.
“For all those people who say they are a blot on the landscape, there are others who say they are a sign of the future, because increasingly we are going to get more of our energy from wind turbines.”
By Jonathan Schofield
6 February 2008
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