A bitter row has erupted between opposing campaigners ahead of a crunch decision on whether one of the biggest on-shore wind farms in the country can be built in the Vale of Belvoir.
Sustainable Energy Alliance (SEA), the environmental campaign group supporting the Thackson’s Well wind farm application, near Long Bennington, has made a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority against Belvoir Locals Oppose Turbines (BLOT).
The move is ahead of tomorrow’s development control committee meeting at Kesteven District Council, where plans by Infinergy Limited will be considered.
The ten-turbine wind farm will provide the equivalent annual energy needs for almost 13,000 homes and save 52,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year.
SEA claims materials used by BLOT to gain support in opposing the application are misleading and factually incorrect.
They also say that any support gained by BLOT based on this material and subsequent petitions submitted to the planning authority should be deemed as inadmissible, as people were being “mislead”.
They allege one claim made on a leaflet and handed out to members of the public, was that “wind farms may cause cancer and leukaemia”. Another was that wind farms “use more energy to put up than they produce”.
A spokesman for SEA said: “We believe that the majority of the public, when given the opportunity and provided with substantiated, factual information, support wind power as a means of addressing man-made climate change.”
But Jamie Mawer, of BLOT, rubbished their complaint as “mud slinging” and denied the leaflets had been put out by the campaign group.
He said: “We are just a local campaign group trying to inform local people what could be happening on their doorstep. I don’t know where the Advertising Standards Agency comes into it.
“They are using dirty tricks to get their point over when their point has no good grounding.
“As far as the cancer one goes they are referring to a leaflet handed out by one individual before BLOT was formed.
“If they try to pin that on us they are going to find themselves in trouble.”
Planning officers from South Kesteven District Council have recommended approval.
Charles Sandham, chief executive of Infinergy, said: “Following our diligent survey work at Thackson’s Well, which has indicated that this is a good site for a wind farm, I am pleased that the planning officers have recommended to the development control committee that the project be approved.
“This is an important opportunity for South Kesteven to make their contribution to climate change.”
10 March 2008
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