West Norfolk planners yesterday turned down plans for a wind turbine at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The turbine could have saved the hospital thousands of pounds a year in energy costs but ran into strong opposition, especially due to the potential impact on radar equipment at RAF Marham and air ambulance landings.
Despite the green energy benefits of the scheme, development control board members voiced a string of objections on grounds including safety, noise and visual impact.
They also rejected a request from applicants Ecotricity for a deferment to allow more time for consultation aimed at overcoming objections posed by Defence Estates and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
The bid was thrown out in spite of support from Cllr Paul Burall, who said: “We clearly couldn’t approve the application in its present form but we should give them time to come up with resolutions to the objections.”
Cllr Bill Daws felt there had been insufficient liaison with the Ministry of Defence and the Air Ambulance before the application was submitted.
He also felt the site was too close to the busy Al49.
He added: “You have got a 240-feet-high thing sticking out of the ground with a helicopter buzzing around. I don’t think that’s safe.”
Fears about the effect of noise on hospital staff and patients were raised by Cllr Roy Groom, who was also concerned about what would happen if the hospital relocated and homes were built on the site.
The potential disturbance to nearby residents from “shadow flicker” caused by the rotating blades of the turbine was also raised.
Board chairman Cllr Vivienne Spikings said it was very unreasonable to expect people living in the area to install blinds in their windows as a precaution.
The hospital could save up to £26,000 a year on its electricity bill if the turbine was approved.
Cllr Hugh Symington said he was not satisfied that all other possible energy saving measures had been implemented.
The proposed site for the turbine is currently used informally for staff parking. Cllr Michael Pitcher suggested the parking revenue lost would greatly offset any energy savings.
The hospital is also close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Cllr Chris Crofts said the turbine would be visually damaging in such surroundings.
By Claire Beal
29 April 2008
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