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Pilots’ lives ‘will be put at risk’ by wind farm turbines  

Credit:  Julian Makey, News & Crier, www.cambridge-news.co.uk 31 December 2010 ~~

Lives of paramotor pilots could be put at risk if a wind farm scheme gets the go ahead, a flying instructor has warned.

Geoff Soden, of ParamotorsUK, fears that turbulence downwind from the giant rotating blades of the farm’s turbines could cause a paramotor’s parachute-style wing to collapse.

Pilots, including trainees, currently fly close to the proposed Woolley Hill wind farm site on circuits for ParamotorsUK’s site at Brooklands Farm, near Alconbury.
Mr Soden, who has operated from the site for 14 years, said he was also worried about the future of his business if the wind farm plan, by RES UK and Ireland, was approved.

The firm wants to build four 428ft high turbines, equalling the tallest in the country, at the site. Opponents to the plans have set up an action group.

Mr Soden said he had not been consulted by RES and that the first he had heard about the wind farm was when he received official notification from the flying authorities that protesters were planning to put up a balloon to show the height of the turbines.

He said RES had only consulted Cambridge Airport and the airfield at Conington, despite his site being officially recognised as a place where flying takes place.

He has now objected to the planning application by RES.

He said: “My concern is that the lives of people would be put at risk if these things are put up.”

He also fears his business would be at risk and he would not receive any compensation.

Mr Soden said the paramotor pilots had to fly in the vicinity of the wind farm site to avoid other features in the area, including houses.

He added: “Nobody is going to fly a paramotor downwind into the turbulence to find out whether the wing is going to collapse or not.”

Paramotors use a high-tech parachute-style wing and are powered by a motor attached to the pilot’s harness mechanism.

Objectors to the scheme are concerned after another wind farm was given the go ahead at Cotton Farm, Graveley, on appeal.

Ron Ward, chairman of the Woolley Hill Wind Farm Action Group, said they felt sorry for objectors to the Cotton Farm scheme.

But he felt there were differences between the two schemes, including the traffic hazard presented by the Woolley Hill plan to the A14/A1 junction, where there had been 72 accidents in five years.

Source:  Julian Makey, News & Crier, www.cambridge-news.co.uk 31 December 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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