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Council to stop windfarms being built near homes  

Credit:  By Sam McGregor, Oxford Mail, www.oxfordmail.co.uk 2 November 2010 ~~

A council is planning to bring in ground-breaking policy to stop windfarms being built too close to homes.

The move comes after a planning inspector over-ruled a decision by Cherwell District Council to refuse permission for a £10m windfarm between Fritwell and Fewcott, near Bicester, where the nearest home would be just 500 metres away.

In July, the inspector ruled Chesterfield-based firm Bolsterstone could build four 125-metre tall turbines, a control building and access at Willowbank Farm, near the M40, despite protests.

The inspector’s decision prompted ward councillors Catherine Fulljames and James Macnamara to put forward a motion calling on the council to develop a new policy.

At the moment there is no national policy on how close to homes windfarms can be built.

Cherwell is proposing an exclusion zone of 800 metres for large turbines.

Ian Corkin, of Fewcott Parish Council, said: “I am very pleased to see that Cherwell has finally woken up to this threat.

“I know there was genuine shock there when the Fewcott decision was announced. But that is what happens if you fail to provide an adequate framework for the non-elected officers to work within.”

In January, Mr Corkin launched a petition calling on Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron to introduce a law banning large wind turbines within two kilometres of homes.

The petition, which is on the Downing Street website, attracted 400 signatures including that of Oxfordshire County Council chairman Keith Mitchell.

Cherwell’s draft policy, which was being discussed last night by the council’s executive, has been backed by Mrs Fulljames, councillor for Caversfield.

She said: “I think it’s acceptable, bearing in mind some of the houses were 450 to 500 metres from the Willowbank Farm planning application.

“I think it’s better than not having anything at all.”

James Macnamara, Cherwell’s executive member for resources and communications, who also represents the Heyfords and Astons, said: “In England there’s clearly a push, for environmental reasons, in favour of green energy, but there’s no protection for residents against these very tall and intrusive structures.

“We all want to have green energy, but we don’t want 400 ft towers at the bottom of the garden.

“It’s about striking the balance to protect residents from having to suffer something intruding into their life.”

A report to last night’s meeting said although Cherwell supported renewable and low carbon energy where appropriate, there were issues of local significance to consider.

The Bolsterstone wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 5,000 homes. Bolsterstone is due to put a 60ft wind monitoring mast on site this month to gather data on wind direction and strength over the next year.

The firm said the earliest it would start construction was late next year.

Source:  By Sam McGregor, Oxford Mail, www.oxfordmail.co.uk 2 November 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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