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Turbines plan prompts fear over skyline

The Northampton skyline could be swamped with massive wind turbines if plans to built a 417ft installation at Brackmills are given the go-ahead, an MP has warned.

Supermarket giant Asda has applied to build the large turbine at its distribution centre on the Northampton industrial estate.

The plans have caused upset among people living nearby and the Conservative MP for Northampton South, Brian Binley, has called for a limit on the structures during a session in the Houses of Parliament.

During a debate with Environment Minister Hilary Benn, the MP said he was very concerned about the Brackmills plans.

Afterwards, he said: “The Government is piling an awful lot of money into sustainable energy projects but giving too much leniency in where those projects are sited.

“Brackmills is the perfect example. Once you’ve given permission for one wind turbine on an industrial estate, how do you refuse permission for others on sites belonging to different companies on the estate?

“There are 161 companies operating on the Brackmills estate. Would 20 further wind sites on the estate be acceptable? My guess is no.”

Plans for the Brackmills turbine were revealed in May last year.

The proposed turbine would stand as high as the Express Lifts tower and provide enough energy for the entire Asda depot.

The scheme has been opposed by people living close to the site, including members of Great Houghton Parish Council, who have claimed the turbine would not be in keeping with the surrounding area.

But Asda has said the device would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,250 homes and prevent the release of more than 5,000 tonnes of CO2.

A spokesman for the firm said: “We’ve only applied for one turbine, but that will generate two megawatts of energy.

“We believe it’s a good scheme and will be a positive thing for Northampton.”

Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee has already given its backing to the proposal, but the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation will make a final decision on the scheme later in the year.

By Wayne Bontoft

Northampton Chronicle and Echo

5 May 2008