People living near a proposed wind farm saw what kind of visual impact it could have when a blimp was flown at the height of one of the turbines.
Peel Energy, which wants to build a nine-turbine wind farm on the former Asfordby mine site, near Melton, flew the helium-filled 20ft blimp over the site between Asfordby and Ab Kettleby yesterday.
The company, which has held two public consultations and organised for people to visit a wind farm in another part of the country, staged the exercise after a request by Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan.
Many people said it confirmed their fears over the impact of the turbines – some of them more than 400ft – on the countryside.
Emma Musson of protest group STOP, said: “As other wind farm protesters around the UK have discovered, observers are shocked that the blimp is visible for many miles. We believe the development is inappropriate to the rural and historic setting. It’s too close to people’s homes and it’s not a windy area.”
Nick Taylor, 58, of nearby Ab Kettleby, said: “I’m very nervous about it. The prevailing winds blow towards the village so we will hear them.”
Airline pilot Ian Fraser, also of Ab Kettleby, said: “The rolling ground produces turbulence and the stronger the wind blows, the greater the turbulence, which propellers don’t like. There will be a visual impact across the whole of the Wreake Valley.
“We’re told they’ll be visible from Newark.”
Shirley Carter, 38, of Grimston, said: “I suffer from the neurological condition fybromyalgia and when we’ve stayed anywhere near turbines on holiday, the flicker of the rotors make me dizzy.
“We moved to this side of Leicestershire because of the natural beauty of the place.”
Audrey Gibbins, 60, of Grimston, said: “If they’re allowed to build one, they will escalate and clutter the countryside.”
MP Alan Duncan said: “I’m glad I persuaded them to fly this balloon. It has proved my point because even standing in a dip these things are going to be staggeringly high.”
Peel Energy’s project manager Patrick Keogh said: “We are flying it as a goodwill gesture at the request of MP Alan Duncan and STOP.
“We strongly believe the site is appropriate and we have submitted plans to Melton Borough Council which are illustrative of the actual impact of the turbines.”
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