November 23, 2010

Horspath wind turbine ‘will be just an eyesore’

By Emily Allen, Oxford Mail, 23 November 2010

Horspath councillors claim a proposed wind turbine on the edge of the village would tower over homes and blot the landscape.

Partnership for Renewables, (PfR) wants to build the 130-metre tall turbine on the south side of Oxford Road, Horspath, close to the entrance to the village.

But ahead of a planning application for a temporary monitoring mast being made next month, Horspath Parish Council said the firm had “grossly overstated” the potential efficiency and benefits of the £2.5m structure.

In a statement on its website, it said: “Horspath Parish Council has identified absolutely no benefits whatsoever for the residents of Horspath which might come from the erection of this wind turbine, and has already started to review the long list of disadvantages which it would inflict on the village community.”

They said it would tower over cricket pitches, be highly visible from almost every house and plot in the village and would be higher than Shotover Hill.

In addition, they claim it would create significant noise, flickering shadows when the blades rotate in direct sunlight and would be a hazard for bats, birds and low flying aircraft.

About 70 per cent of households in Horspath opposed the idea when they were quizzed in 2008.

The proposed site is on land owned by Oxford City Council, which the parish council said would generate rent of about £30,000 a year.

The parish council also said it was the wrong place for a wind turbine, as the village is not windy enough for it to be an efficient means of saving energy.

Initially the firm wanted to build two turbines in the area, but realised it was not feasible and reduced the scheme to just one.

It also insists the turbine would be inaudible at a few hundred metres and would not be a risk to low flying aircraft.

Only a few homes are expected to be affected by the shadow flicker, and when a temporary monitoring mast is built in early December wind experts will be able to learn more about efficiency.

Regional manager for (PfR) Tony Duffin estimates the turbine would create an equivalent to the electricity consumed by 2,400 homes a year and the community would benefit from a £5,000 community fund each year.

A planning application is likely to be submitted in the spring, when a formal consultation period will begin. Mr Duffin said there had already been a series of consultation events adding: “We will continue to consult regularly with communities throughout this project.”

Plans by PfR for a wind turbine at Cutteslowe Park were shelved in August amid fears it could interfere with RAF radar systems.

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