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Protest dismissed by firm as a media stunt

More than 150 walkers, cyclists and horse riders took to the countryside to join a mass protest against plans for a proposed wind farm between Swinford and Walcote.

But the move was dismissed as a “media stunt” by a spokesman for the wind farm plan.

The group was walking along Green Lane, which would run through the heart of a site housing 11 turbines, each 125m high.

The plans have been submitted by renewable energy firm Nuon UK. Protestors say the development will ruin the landscape and destroy the area’s character.

Keith Kilbane, chairman of Stop Swinford Wind Farm Action Group, said: “The presence of so many here today shows how deeply people treasure the access they have to walk, cycle, ride or run through this glorious countryside.

“This unsuitable and ill-conceived plan to develop a wind farm will threaten all that for insignificant, dubious energy gain at the cost of serious environmental damage.”

The protest group has been criticised by one landowner affected by the proposals for sending letters, which she believed to be threatening, appealing to her to not give up land.

Rob Fellows, spokesman for Nuon, said: “I was interested to see that local objectors chose to highlight the Swinford Wind Farm proposal by organising a protest walk along a path that will not be affected by the operation of the wind farm, should planning consent be granted.

“This suggests to me that the walk was purely a media stunt.

“With the objector group sending offensive letters to landowners and spreading considerable unreferenced mis-information, it has been difficult to have a debate based on fact and not fiction.”

l A neutral website containing links to sites both for and against wind farms can be found at www.mistertonwind farm.info.

l The protest group Stop Swinford Wind Farm has a website at www.sswfag.org.uk.

l Nuon UK’s website contains a map of the proposed area and can be found at www.nuonrenewables.com.

Lutterworth Mail

13 May 2008