More than 30 wind turbines could be installed within a 15-mile stretch of west Huntingdonshire in the next few years.
The drive for greener energy – and incentives for developers – has seen a wave of applications and proposals being put forward – with the west of the district the focus of most schemes.
Already, planning applications for wind farms are being considered for Kimbolton, Hamerton and Graveley, but three more villages are also being eyed up for potential wind farms.
In Bythorn/Molesworth, NWE npower renewables is looking to install eight turbines up to 126metres high either side of Warren Lane, while in Perry, TCI Renewables is considering constructing four turbines of up to 140m at Highfield Farm.
There are also two turbines planned for Hamerton Zoo.
With so many wind farm applications and proposals for wind farms, Gareth Ridewood of CPRE Cambridgeshire warned of the cumulative impact on the area.
He said: “We are not opposed to or supportive of wind farms. We look at each individual case on its merits.
“But the more developments in the same area will ultimately have a bigger impact and completely change the landscape.
“We would encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the debate about wind power.
“The people of Huntingdonshire need to think about how they want energy created in the future and if they think the area would benefit from wind farms or if they see them as an eyesore.”
Amy Howard of the Stop Bicton Wind Farm group, which is fighting plans for four turbines to be constructed near to Kimbolton, said the wind farm applications should not be considered in isolation.
“This number of turbines will look completely out of scale with the landscape.
“We are not talking about isolated developments – at this rate, these developments are certain to impact on the whole of Huntingdonshire. Huntingdonshire villages, especially Kimbolton, are heritage jewels and should not be blighted by turbines.”
However, power companies insist wind power has proved to be one of the most cost effective and reliable renewable generation technologies. There are more than 100,000 wind turbines installed in 70 different countries.
n An update on wind farm developments in Huntingdonshire:
Bicton Wind Farm, Kimbolton – PLANNING STAGE
Location: Between Kimbolton and Stow Longa on land near to Bicton and Harvards Way industrial parks.
Number of turbines: Four up to 125metres
Applicant: Broadview Energy
Status: A planning application has been submitted. If permission is granted the wind turbines could be in operation late next year and would generate enough electricity for 5,000 homes.
Jeffrey Corrigan, managing director of Broadview Energy said if granted approval the “local area” can expect to receive support for community-based projects with up to £600,000 on offer over the wind farm’s 25 year lifetime.
But the Stop Bicton Wind Farm group believes the negative impact the development would have on the historical area of Kimbolton and the surrounding villages would far outweigh the environmental benefits.
A public meeting is being held on September 16 at Mandeville Hall, Thrapston Road, Kimbolton at 8pm. The deadline for consultation is September 17.
Hamerton – PLANNING STAGE
Location: Hamerton Zoo
Number of turbines: Two up to 125metres.
Applicant: Hamerton Zoo
Status: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is expected to decide whether Hamerton Zoo can put up two 25m wind turbines to reduce the park’s carbon footprint and fuel bills.
Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management panel will be recommended to approve the application next Monday (August 16).
Cotton Wind Farm, Graveley – APPEAL STAGE
Location: Former airfield at Graveley
Number of turbines: Eight up to 127metres
Applicant: Npower Renewables
Status: A decision on whether the wind farm can be built is expected by the end of this month.
Huntingdonshire District Council refused permission for the development last autumn because of the effect on surrounding villages and nearby listed buildings.
Npower Renewables, appealed, and a public inquiry took place in May.
The planning inspector is considering the parties’ views of the likely effect on the Cambridge Gliding Centre at Little Gransden airfield.
Woolley – SCOPING OPINION STAGE
Location: Woolley Hill
Number of turbines: Seven up to 127m
Applicant: RES UK and Ireland Ltd
Status: A planning application is expected to be submitted to Huntingdonshire District Council in October.
A public exhibition is being held on September 8 at Woolley Village Hall from 2pm and 8pm. No planning application has yet been submitted.
Perry – SCOPING OPINION STAGE
Location: Highfield Farm
Number of turbines: Four up to 140m
Applicant: TCI Renewables
Status: Documents have been sent to the parish council and households to gauge opinion on the potential development. Ecology studies have also started at Highfield Farm.
A public exhibition is being held on Friday, August 13 at Buckden Millennium Centre from 3.30pm to 7.30pm. No planning application has yet been submitted.
Bythorn – SCOPING OPINION STAGE
Location: Either side of Warren Lane
Number of turbines: Eight up to 126m
Applicant: RWE Npower Renewables
Status: Documents have been sent to the parish council to gauge opinion on the potential development. At a very early stage and no planning application has yet been submitted.
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