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Villagers protest over giant wind turbine proposal  

Villagers armed with placards were out in force at the weekend to voice their opposition to a proposed wind farm.

Energy company npower announced plans before Christmas for the eight-turbine power station at Cotton Farm, which is situated between Graveley, Great Paxton, the Offords, Toseland and Yelling.

The turbines could be up to 127 metres (417ft) high – nearly twice the height of Ely Cathedral (66m), bigger than Big Ben (95.7m) and dwarfing St Paul’s Cathedral (108m).

The turbines would generate enough electricity for between 6,900 and 10,000 homes.

Representatives from npower presented an exhibition of their plans at Offord Cluny village hall on Saturday (March 8) and also held a two and half hour presentation and question and answer session with parish councillors.

While that was taking place, members of the Cotton Farm Action Group crowded the roadside outside in protest, and received a number of approving horn blasts from passing drivers.

Leading the npower presentation was project manager Kim Gauld-Clark and Pete Williams, who were accompanied by development manager Cath Stevenson and other employees.

When asked why npower did not build wind farms offshore, away from residential areas, he explained that the need for renewable energy was so pressing they had to do both.

He said: “We need to build as many as we can to meet Government targets and mitigate the effects of global warming.”

The effect of Government policy was an issue picked up on by the councillors who were informed by Mr Williams that building the turbines, which he described as hugely expensive, would not be a profitable investment without Government subsidy.

Another area of concern was the height of the turbines, which a councillor suggested was due to the relatively low wind speeds in East Anglia.

Mr Williams responded by saying the height of them was to maximise energy generation for that site.

House prices were also discussed, with members of the audience expressing concern they could drop by as much as 20 per cent.

However, Mr Williams suggested there were too few other wind farms across the country to judge that statistic accurately, but that he did not think this would be the case.

College Farm, the name of Bryan Moore’s arable Great Paxton farm, is the closest property to Cotton Farm at 400 metres. When he was asked for his views on npower’s take on the effect on property prices, he said: “I can’t see that, I just think that’s a total untruth. They will be intrusive, I will not be able to sit in the countryside and enjoy the rural countryside. I am a farmer and landowner and we are getting all these industrial things built around us.”

Ms Gauld-Clark added: “Our intention is to submit a planning application to Huntingdonshire District Council in spring 2008, which will be rigorously assessed by the council in the usual way, including consulting with nearby residents.”

Huntingdon Today

12 March 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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