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Wind turbine blown out  

Credit:  By Ellen Frampton, Biggleswade Chronicle, www.biggleswadetoday.co.uk 7 January 2011 ~~

A wind farm proposal has been turned away after a lengthy council debate.

The planning application for the renewable energy source had been submitted by The Co-operative Group. The intention was to construct ten turbines on land to the north of Edworth Road by Langford.

But two thirds of councillors voted against the plan at a planning meeting on Wednesday (January 5).

Reasons for objecting included excessive noise impact on nearby homes and the visual effect.

Campaigners from both sides of the debate lobbied the councillors at Chicksands.

Here a some of the comments made during the meeting and afterwards:

Langford parish councillor, Tony Fisher said: “My council objects to the proposal in the strongest possible terms and this is the decision taken by the majority of the community.

“This is a proposal without merit that must be put out now.

“We have no objection to the idea of a wind farm but it must be in the right place.

“A major issues is having a development of this scale in this proximity to the community.

“The overbearing presence of such monsters positioned so close to where we live is not acceptable.

“This application should be put aside now. We have gone to great lengths to outline our fears and to give evidence.

“The lower school will be within 1,100m of the site. It’s patently obviously a significant risk to health if it goes ahead.”

Mrs Bart said: “First I would like to state my support for alternative energy sources including wind farms but I would like to state my objection to this wind farm in the strongest possible terms.

“The proximity of the proposed site to the area of housing is far too close. None of the mock-up photos show views from the residences.

“I can see no reason or justification for positioning it this close to residences and I think the school will be harmed by this.”

Ian Summershield said: “There is a lot of anxiety as well as anger in the village. The noise risk of turbines is well known with reports on sites and disturbance caused by low frequency noise from wind farms.

“A resident of an existing wind farm says that some nights its impossible to get to sleep. The risk is highest at night. Here in Langford there are many homes that will be less than 2km from the turbines.

“There is also the dreadful visual impact, ruining the landscape.

“The risks far outweigh the benefits.”

Mr Clark said: “The basis of my objection is the closeness of the development. It’s because it is too close that most other objections follow and become important.

“If the development goes ahead it will be too late if problems arise.”

Central Beds councillor, Doreen Gurney, said: “We all support green energy of course but this is not the case for it. I’m highly concerned for the local people.

“Not one word has been mentioned about the distraction of those turbines. This will distract traffic on the A1.

“There is lots of room to put wind turbines without having them here. Just because it has been put by a village in the past, I don’t think we need to follow this line.

“Who’s to say they will not later request to enlarge the area?”

Victoria Harding said: “Government guidance strongly supports on shore wind farms.

“I beg you to support this wind farm as part of Central Beds’ commitment to cut carbon.”

“Mr Welloway said: “I urge councillors to pay more attention to world interests rather than to local nimbys.”

Councillor Tom Nicols said: ““What I have heard convinces me that we should support this application. I’m convinced that noise is not the issue here and that the development would not be a source of noise for the people of Langford.

“The turbines are high and I woiuld not support this application if they were not so high. My concern here is that we seem to be picking up on the fact that they are visible. To be effective they need to be up there in the wind flow. It would be absurd to be in the tree line.

“There are plenty of obstacles on the skyline in Langford that have not brought any positive thing to the landscape. I think it would be a positive asthetic.

“If you do not want wind turbines in this area then I look to you to support the next nuclear power station that appears in your area.

“I’ve heard speakers say how much they support wind power but in the same breath say ‘not near me.’ I’m sorry but that’s not how it works.”

Councillor Peter Snelling said: “I will also be supporting this application. I have visited a wind farm and noise really was not an issue. The noise issue in Langford will be very similar. I didn’t experience the whining. If we refuse this I think we may lose on appeal and it’s a contribution we will make to the green economy.”

Councillor Nigel Aldis said: “The water tower has quite a big impact on the landscape but we all accept we need to have water towers on top of hills to have water in our homes.

“If we want to have the lights on we have to have power and from renewable sources. I find it very hard to believe that those turbines will have a detrimental impact on the landscape. I just don’t accept that wind turbines will impact adversely on children. In fact they will be a source of interest. There is always change in the countryside and wind turbines are one of those things.

“I think we need to have turbines and to me they have a very graceful effect on the landscape.”

Langford councillor, Jon Clarke, said afterwards: “I’m delighted that Central Beds Planning Committee, by a two thirds majority, supported officers’ recommendation to refuse planning permission for ten wind turbines in close proximity to Langford and Biggleswade today.

“Whilst Central Bedfordshire fully supports renewable energy initiatives, they must be in suitable locations.

“I would also urge the applicant, as an ethical firm, to accept the decision of the committee and the wishes of the community and not pursue this development any further.”

During the meeting Rob Ellis, sustainable development manager for The Co-operative Group, said: “With all developments we work closely with local communities.

“Almost nine in 10 people believe Central Bedfordshire has a role to play in reducing climate change. 76 per cent of people in Biggleswade are in favour.

“We are confident that the wind farm would note have any unacceptable effect on the community including noise.”

Afterwards Mr Ellis said: “We are very disappointed that our planning application to build a ten-turbine wind farm in Langford has been turned down by Central Bedfordshire Council.

“We are especially disappointed that the planning committee refused our application on noise grounds as we undertook a rigorous noise assessment, using independent consultants, which determined that the proposal would fully comply with the required noise guidelines set out in national planning policy.

“The wind farm would have supplied approximately 11,400 homes with clean, green energy by generating 47 million kilowatt hours of electricity – saving between 18,000 and 43,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and not forgetting the direct economic and community benefits for the local area. We are now considering our next steps.”

Source:  By Ellen Frampton, Biggleswade Chronicle, www.biggleswadetoday.co.uk 7 January 2011

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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