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Wind farm generates issues for discussion  

A list of 45 points for consideration has been created by Gillingham town councillors as they consider a proposal for a wind farm near the town.

Last week, the council’s planning committee considered a report by green energy company Ecotricity for a wind park of six turbines, up to 120m tall, on land at Silton.

The proposal, which includes a substation, access track, hardstanding, access from the road and a temporary construction compound, has cause widespread concern among residents of Silton, Milton-on-Stour and Bourton, who have vowed to fight any formal plans by the company.

But at last Monday’s town council meeting, members were reminded their discussions should focus on the need for further information from the company, not on the merits of or objections to any possible proposal.

Some members were worried by the idea.

Mick Lodge expressed concern about the scale, size and height of the turbines, and questioned the need for them to be so tall, requesting an ecological impact report should be included in the environmental impact assessment that has yet to be carried out.

He was also concerned about flooding issues created by water running off the concrete bases, and raised the issue of road access along the B3081 to the site during construction.

Cllr Ian Stewart said a prevailing wind study would be important in determining the viability of the project.

He was also concerned about the visual impact of the proposed development, along with the cost of connecting the turbines to the National Grid, and felt alternatives such as micro-turbines, hydropower, off-shore turbines and bio-mass should be considered.

He reminded members about the work of the Stour and Vale Hydro Group, which was looking into ways to generate renewable energy in Dorset, and said there should be a mix of alterative renewable power sources rather than a focus on one source.

Cllr Anne Beckley felt bio-mass was a suitable and unintrusive alternative, and raised concerns about the affect of subsonic waves from wind turbines on old buildings.

The extensive list of things to be considered included environmental benefits of the proposed development, the effect on tourism, the visual impact, health issues and any possible economic benefits to the area.

Western Gazette

21 February 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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