Homeowners living close to the site of a proposed wind park have reacted with anger to ‘irrelevant’ market research carried out by the applicant.
The Gazette has received a pile of letters and comments on its website in response to survey results released by green energy firm Ecotricity last week, concerning its planning application for four 120-metre high turbines on farmland between Stinchcombe and the M5 motorway.
The results indicated that over 60 per cent questioned supported the idea of a wind park in the Berkeley Vale.
However it was also revealed that the survey was carried out mainly in the GL5 area of the district and not in the GL11 area close to the site itself.
Eric Collins said: “The poll is totally irrelevant as it asked people living mainly in the Stroud/Nailsworth area whether they agreed with wind turbines in an area miles away from where they live, out of sight and with no impact on their lives.
“Anyone can see this is a desperate attempt by (Ecotricity managing director) Dale Vince to influence planners, who will be voting on this application soon, that Ecotricity have public support for the scheme.
“A scheme which is both overstated in its potential power generation and wrongly situated in a valley.”
Stinchcombe resident Sue Cheshire said: “This survey is irrelevant to the main issue that Berkeley Vale is, for many reasons, the wrong place for wind turbines, and we trust that the planners will see it for what it is – a marketing tool, propaganda – part of Dale Vince’s ‘say it often enough and it’s true’ mode of buying influence and using his vast resources to get his own way, regardless of the consequences to the lives of many other people.”
Mike Humphries, also a Stinchcombe resident, added: “I object very strongly to the proposed wind turbines and find that the underhanded way of conducting a telephone poll, in a completely different part of the area, disgusting to say the least.”
Mike Cheshire, spokesman for Ecotricity, said: “The aim of the poll was to establish once-and-for-all what the local silent majority – all living within a few miles of Berkeley Vale, including Stinchcombe and around – really think about wind energy, and our plans in particular.
“All the questions were vetted and approved by NOP, one of the world’s most trusted and respected polling companies.
“It was important for us that we got real, trusted results and not just ask a few loaded questions. What it found reflects our 15 years’ experience exactly – that the vast majority of people care about the environment, are in favour of wind power, and are perfectly happy to have a modern windmill near them.”
The application will be discussed at a meeting in February.