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Wind farm fight takes to the sky — 127 metres above a village

A blimp was flying over Graveley last Saturday (April 19) at the same height as a proposed wind farm.

The inflatable was sent up to 127 metres, twice the height of Ely Cathedral, by The Cotton Farm Action Group who are opposing npower plans for an eight-turbine farm on the former site of Graveley airfield.

The site has the Offords in the north-west, Great Paxton in the west, Toseland to the south and Graveley to the east, with the nearest houses less than 1 km away.

Chairman of the Cotton Farm Action Group, Bev Gray, said: “As Cotton Farm is next to Graveley, this was a chance for local people to see the height of the turbines in relation to the local landscape, but it will also prove to people who live in more distant villages, such as Little Paxton, that there will be a significant visual impact for them too and for people enjoying walks and cycle rides along the Ouse Valley.
“We estimate that turbines of 127m in this location would be visible from up to 30 miles away.”

Another member of the group, Jess Tossell from Toseland, travelled round some of the nearby villages to check on the visibility of the blimp.

He said: “We could see it clearly from the car park at Woodgreen, even though it was windy and murky so it was mostly flying at 350 feet (106 metres), rather than the full 417 feet (127 metres) because of the angle.

“You could also see it from the Papworth end of Hilton, Great Paxton school and the Offords.

npower say the farm could produce enough electricity for up to 10,000 homes. Renewables project manager for the proposal, Kim Gauld-Clark, added: “127 metres is a maximum height and the actual turbines we would use, should our application be successful, may not be this high.

“The scale of the turbines we are proposing at Cotton Wind Farm is typical of the size being proposed at sites across the country today.

The energy company are expected to submit a proposal in the summer, which will include an environmental statement explaining the impact of the farm and how they believe the effects can be mitigated.

Huntingdon Today

24 April 2008