Organisers of a public meeting about the controversial wind farm that led a farmer to commit suicide cancelled it amid fears for their safety if it went ahead.
An 11th-hour decision to call-off Friday’s event over the proposed Marshland St James wind farm was made when the brother of the tragic farmer, who is also supplying land for the plan, revealed his house windows had been smashed.
Ian Robinson, a consultant representative of Marshland Wind Farms, the company behind the plans, said: “If one of my colleagues had been injured or worse I think I would have been standing up before a court and having to explain why, with my knowledge of health and safety, I hadn’t stopped the meeting.”
The meeting was the third and final event of its kind planned in villages around the proposal site, where the company wants to build 19 turbines.
Angry protesters claimed almost 200 people turned up at Marshland St James village hall and were denied their right to engage in consultation.
The plan has been steeped in tragedy and controversy since the proposals first came to light. Last month an inquest into the death of farmer Richard Herbert (47) heard he had drowned himself in a state of anxiety and depression over his decision to supply land for the scheme.
The father-of-three’s death came after half of the consortium of landowners involved in the scheme stepped down when an 85-metre test mast put up on the site was felled by vandals. There have been numerous other claims of harassment and criminal damage.
Yesterday, Mr Herbert’s brother Rod (64) told the Lynn News he had wanted the meeting to go ahead despite waking on Friday to find four windows at his home had been smashed and receiving a number of silent phone calls.
He is determined to push ahead with consultation over the wind farm and has put up a display of the plans at his business R J Herbert Engineering, in Middle Drove, as planned, which is open to the public from 9am to 5pm.
He said: “I can’t back away from it when I have got a brother laying in the graveyard up the road. We both set out on this project together. I am not intimidated by that sort of thing.”
A police spokesman confirmed an allegation of criminal damage at a home in Marshland St James is being investigated and said a senior police officer is due to meet with the wind farm meeting organisers to discuss a way forward.
The leading protest group against the proposed wind farm at Marshland St James has slammed the cancellation of the planned consultation in the village.
Fenland Landscape Against Turbines (Flat) is pressing ahead with its own event where villagers will get the chance to discuss the plans, at Marshland St James Jubilee Hall from 7pm on Tuesday.
Flat, which has repeatedly moved to condemn criminal damage and illegal means of getting the message across, brushed aside Marshland Wind Farm’s reasons for cancelling.
A statement from the group said: “This really is a serious snub for the village and while the developers claim it was for health and safety reasons many people are of the opinion what they are really frightened of is the result of their consultation process.”
Marshland St James borough councillor David Markinson also voiced concerns. He said: “My telephone and email have been red hot all weekend.
“Furious villagers told me they felt they had been snubbed and once more their views had been ignored.”
18 March 2008
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