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Blimp put up to back turbine fear

This is the view Horsmonden and Marden residents can expect if a planning application for a wind turbine in the Teise valley is approved.

A blimp, believed to be the height of the turbine was this Saturday floating on land adjoining the proposed turbine’s site near Sheephurst Lane, Marden, to give residents an idea of the turbine’s height.

A planning application for the 127m turbine was submitted to Maidstone Borough Council in January by Wind Direct on behalf of Marden farmer Peter Hall and Sons. Kentish Weald Action Group (KWAG) has been campaigning against the proposal and paid to rent the red blimp which reads “TURBINE HEIGHT”.

Chairman of KWAG John Webley said: “In the planning application, Wind Direct stated that the proposed turbine, would ‘be fully acceptable in the landscape’. The blimp shows how completely false that statement really is. We are campaigning against a turbine that would cause irreparable damage to the Low Weald landscape.”

He added the turbine would have an “effect on the landscape, the houses in close proximity and the 2,400 homes which will have problems with television reception”.

Wind Direct’s project manager for the site Rosanna Scurr said: “Wind Direct cannot confirm how accurate either the location or the height of the blimp was. A number of accurate photomontages were submitted as part of the planning application Support Document earlier this year. These photomontages clearly showed the size and scale of the turbine within the local landscape.

“It is commendable that KWAG have taken such an interest in the scheme; concerns such as these are perfectly legitimate when considering the prospect of such a development. The campaign launched by KWAG has meant these issues have been brought to the forefront of public debate; Wind Direct has endeavored throughout to address these issues and has ensured that all questions and concerns are made available to the public via the media.”

Mr Webley, who lives in nearby School House Lane, Horsmonden, said: “The application states all electricity will be fed directly to Peter Hall’s farm and is integrated into his site but fails to clarify that the farm is over 3kms away, the other side of Marden and the other side of the main London to Dover railway line.”

Rosanna Scurr said: “Wind Direct plans for the electricity to be used by Peter Hall and Sons with any excess being exported to the local grid.”

She explained Peter Hall and Sons have packing and other facilities closer to the turbine location and that Wind Direct plans to supply these facilities with energy direct from the wind turbine.

To find out about the Kentish Weald Action Group visit www.kwag.co.uk or to find out about Wind Direct visit www.wind-direct.co.uk

Kent & Sussex Courier

20 June 2008