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Protesters unite in wind farms battle

Wind farm campaign groups across the Harborough area have joined forces in a bid to stop energy firms going ahead with planned schemes.

Three firms have shown interest in three plots in Husbands Bosworth, North Kilworth and on Airfield Farm between Harborough, Lubenham and Gartree.

An application by Energy4All to erect an anenometer at Airfield Farm – to test wind levels to see if the site is suitable for the installation of four wind turbines – was deferred by the district council earlier this month after 400 letters of objection were received.

It is due to go before the planning committee again this evening(Tuesday, July 22).

In separate applications, renewable energy company Nuon UK wants to build 11 turbines, each 125 metres high, between Swinford, Walcote and North Kilworth while Broadview Energy is proposing to build a wind farm in Low Spinney fields between Gilmorton, Ashby Magna and Dunton Bassett.

And just across the border, in Northamptonshire, there are proposals to build windfarms on the Kelmarsh Hall Estate close to the Naseby battlefield, one near Brixworth and one between Yelvertoft, Crick and Lilbourne.

Many residents in villages near to these proposed schemes feel they would spoil the countryside, creating noise and threatening wildlife.

Keith Kilbane is the chairman of Stop Swinford Wind Farm Action Group, which earlier this year handed Harborough District Council a petition bearing the names of 500 residents opposed to the proposal for a windfarm near the village.

The group is not against renewable forms of energy but believes wind turbines are an inefficient way of generating electricity and that the Government should look into alternative sources rather than encouraging the construction of wind farms through incentives.

Mr Kilbane said the group is now in contact with campaign groups opposing the plans at Low Spinney, Lubenham, Yelvertoft and Kelmarsh and that they are planning to meet soon to form a common strategy.

He added: “There’s a growing sense of anger and frustration at what is happening in south Leicestershire.

“There is a great advantage in us being able to share resources and research.”

Phil Baildon, clerk of Ashby Magna Parish Council, said a campaign group – Against Wind Farm At Low Spinney (AWFAL) – has been set up to oppose the scheme there.

He said campaign groups should fight each proposal individually because of the differing circumstances at each site but that it would be beneficial to share resources and research.

Harborough Mail

22 July 2008