A residents’ group is to be formed to fight proposals for a windfarm near Gillingham.
And members of the Save the Vale group, which successfully fought a similar scheme in Cucklington in 2004, are ready to assist.
A public meeting was held on Friday for residents of Bourton, Milton-on-Stour and other areas near the proposed Manor Farm site at Silton, where green-energy company Ecotricity is looking to erect six turbines of up to 120 metres – almost 2.5-times the height of King Alfred’s Tower at Stourhead.
A document about the proposals has been considered by neighbouring town and parish councils, as well as agencies such as the MoD.
On Friday, more than 200 people packed into the hall at St George’s School, Bourton, with people spilling out into the entrance area, to find out more about windfarms, their efficiency, effects and what could be done to fight the scheme. This followed a smaller-scale gathering in Milton-on- Stour last Wednesday where 95 people discussed the subject.
The second meeting heard from Chris Langham of Silton, who told residents that Ecotricity was expected to submit a planning application next month.
The floor was then taken by Brian Trueman of Save the Vale, who said that, were windfarms likely to have an impact on saving the world, he would accept them, but that they were, in fact, “a scam in that they generate a lot of money for the developer and property owner but have very little real impact”.
Windfarm facts were provided by Campbell Dunford of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which encourages renewable energy development while safeguarding the UK’s landscapes from “unsustainable industrialisation”.
He said wind turbines were one of the least effective means of providing renewable energy and were only profitable to companies such as Ecotricity because Government subsidies were provided to those producing such power.
A heated question-and-answer session at the end of the meeting showed the strength of feeling in the room, and Mr Campbell said that, while residents could be labelled NIBMYs, they should not see it as something to be ashamed of but as a mark of pride, as if they did not look after their back yards, no-one else would.
And one angry resident received applause as he summed up the feelings of many in the room.
“They’re too big, they’re not efficient, we don’t want them so we have got to do everything we can to stop them,” he said.
Many of those gathered filled in slips of paper with their contact details as they left the school, so that they can be part of the campaign group, and the overseeing committee is expected to be formed this week ready to fight formal plans if and when they are submitted.
14 February 2008
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