Tesco’s bid to be greener has fallen foul of residents who are complaining that two planned wind turbines at a store in Hull will provide “negligible” energy and be an eyesore.
The giant supermarket’ proposals have been recommended for approval when they go before Hull Council’s planning committee next week.
But more than 20 local residents living close to the store on Hall Road have written letters of objection, with concerns ranging from the amount of noise they will make to their impact on property prices.
Environmentalists have also questioned plans by Tesco to build turbines, saying it smacks of tokenism.
The chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation, Campbell Dunford, said yesterday: “It is always good to see a major company like Tesco making environmental statements, but it would be much more useful to spend their efforts on energy saving initiatives, for example, than on this well intentioned but essentially pointless gesture.”
However council planners say the proposals would comply with policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy.
The plans would see two micro wind turbines, standing 35ft high and capable of producing just enough energy to supply four average UK households per year.
In a report to planners the applicants add: “Although the individual turbines would provide a small contribution to climate change and renewable energy targets, it is envisaged that Tesco will submit several planning applications for the turbines across the country.
“The cumulative impact of such renewable energy developments at each site will be significant.”
Because the turbines don’t have a gear box or braking system the turbines are said to be “inaudible” and they can also operate in all wind conditions above a speed of 2m a second.
The company says the turbines would be “ideally suited” to urban locations because of their height, adding that they would “act as a landmark for the area and will encourage people to think about green issues such as renewable energy, recycling and energy-saving measures.”
However, residents beg to differ – saying they will look “incongruous” and are “unsuitable” within urban settings.
One commented: “Any approval granted will set a precedent for this type of development in supermarkets.”
However planners say they would not represent a visual intrusion – adding that they would “have wider social benefits by promoting the use of sustainable energy technology …in an inner city urban context.”
The European Union wants 20 per cent of energy to come from renewables by 2020 – meaning the UK would have to go from 1.3 per cent to 15 per cent.
A Tesco spokesman said the company had committed £100m to environmental measures, adding: “We have pledged to make major reductions in our carbon footprint. This has to be viewed in the light of all the other measures we are taking.”
By Alexandra Wood
28 February 2008
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