The Government’s own environmental watchdog is behind controversial plans to build a wind turbine on land designated as green belt.
The Environment Agency, whose brief is to protect and improve the environment, hopes the 12.3m-high turbine will provide green, renewable energy to its site in Nooning Lane, Draycott.
The plan was rejected at first by Erewash Borough Council due to fears that the turbine would be too noisy and look out of place within the surrounding countryside.
Now noise and visual assessment reports have been submitted to the council by officers recommending that the plan be approved.
The officers say: “It is considered that the benefits in terms of the renewable energy outweigh the harm created in terms of the openness of the green belt and impact on neighbours. The council’s environmental health officer is satisfied that the proposal will not cause a noise nuisance.”
A spokesman for the agency said: “An independent company carried out a survey and found the turbine would be no louder than existing background noise.”
Among villagers objecting to the plan is Wendy Brown, who paid £30,000 for a field next to the proposed site for the turbine two years ago.
She keeps a horse and two ponies on the land and visits daily with her children, Holly, 20, Matthew, 14, and Christopher, nine.
Mrs Brown, of Attewell Close, Draycott, has written to the council to object to the turbine proposal.
As a result, she will be allowed to speak for five minutes at a meeting on Wednesday when councillors will decide whether or not to agree to the agency’s plan.
The 47-year-old said: “The field is our little piece of heaven. It’s like our back garden and, to me £30,000, is a lot of money.
“I’m concerned about how the noise will affect Christopher because he’s autistic and one of the results of that is he can’t stand certain noises.
“I’m worried he won’t want to go to the field any more if the turbine is built.”
Julia Gardner lives opposite the site in Nooning Lane and has also written a letter of complaint to the council.
She said: “I object to the noise, the siting and the fact that there is an immense amount of wildlife around there, especially birds and bats, which could suffer.”
Draycott Parish Council has also objected to the plan on the grounds of “unacceptable” noise levels.
Parish councillor Tom Rees Jones said: “Turbines are very noisy and have a detrimental effect on the environment.
“Personally, I don’t think they look very nice, although that’s not the council’s reason for the objection.”
28 July 2008
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