Northamptonshire could be home to hundreds of new wind farms as part of £100bn Government plans to encourage the use of renewable energy.
Unveiled yesterday by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the plans are part of a target for 15 per cent of the country’s energy to be renewable by 2020.
Mr Brown said his plan is ‘the most dramatic change in our energy policy since the advent of nuclear power’.
The county is expected to have to take its fair share of 4,000 extra onshore wind turbines.
There is already one county wind farm at Burton Wold, and an extension to the facility has been proposed.
Others are on the cards in Chelveston, Corby, Mawsley, Podington, Ringstead and Rushton.
Wind farms are often unpopular with residents who say they cause background noise and spoil views of the countryside.
In Chelveston, residents have formed an action group called Preserve to protest against plans for a major wind turbine on a disused airfield near their village. The group held a high-profile walk against the renewable energy plant in October, and has appointed a firm of lawyers to assist it, while in Rushton villagers say they will keep an open mind for now.
Vice-chairman of Rushton Parish Council Kevin Abraham said: “We are still waiting to see the documents on the plans.
“We have only recently heard about it and will consider the impact of the turbines, looking at things like whether there’s any noise associated with them.”
Clowd is an action group set up to oppose the plans for a wind farm at Podington. Although planning permission for the turbines has been refused, the applicant Nuon Renewables has since launched an appeal.
The Prime Minister has promised wind turbines would be sited in the ‘right’ locations.
Up to half of the Government’s carbon reduction target will have to come from electricity, meaning a third will have to be generated from renewables by 2020.
Corby Council has looked at several sites for a small wind farm. Lead member for environment Cllr David Harley said: “We have looked at a number of potential sites but unfortunately none of these have been feasible. However, this is something that we are continually looking at.”
An East Northamptonshire Council spokesman said: “Currently we would judge any proposal for a wind farm on the basis of national advice.
“There is a policy in the Rural North Oundle and Thrapston Plan. However, this plan is currently just at the submission stage and if we received an application in this plan area we would need to consider what weight to give to the policy.”
The council also confirmed it was in talks with the backers of a proposal for the Station Road site in Ringstead.
The spokesman added: “We recently received a request for a scoping opinion for a wind farm in the Ringstead area.”
27 June 2008
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