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Bid to keep wind farms in distance

Councillors in Huntingdonshire are being asked to back a bid which could set a minimum distance of two kilometres between wind farms and homes.

Nearly 800 people signed a petition calling on Huntingdonshire District Council to draw up a policy on the location of wind farms and housing – well over the 500 limit required to force a debate on the issue.

The petition has been organised by Colin Watters, of Molesworth, where a proposed wind farm could be sited around 800 metres from his home.

It was due to be discussed by the full council last night.

Mr Watters, a member of the Molesworth Wind Farm Action Group, said there was concern from residents about the impact of large wind turbines over 100 metres high on communities through their scale and potential noise.

He said: “At the moment there is no minimum distance police at all.

“There are some guidelines, but they don’t really count for much.”

More than half a dozen wind farms are at various stages of planning in and around the Huntingdonshire area, with one being approved near Graveley after an appeal and one being turned down at Kimbolton.

Mr Watters said this included “wind farm alley” along the route of the A14 in the west of the district where many turbines would be more than 126 metres high.

The petition wants councillors to support the Wind Turbines (Minimum Distance from Residential Premises) Bill which would set a 2km limit which is shortly to have a second reading in the House of Lords.

It also calls on them to highlight “a lack” of planning guidance on the issue, to form an interim local policy and to declare an unacceptable loss of amenity from giant turbines.

Mr Watters said: “The idea was to get this on the council agenda. We could have got a lot more signatures but we pretty much stopped after we reached 500 which you need for a council debate.”

He said he was not opposed to the use of wind energy, but felt a limit would encourage more debate with residents who could agree a wind farm if they chose.

Steve Ingram, head of planning services at the council, said plans for wind farms had to be considered in the light of national planning policy, which currently supported the Government’s commitment to renewable energy.

He said the Government was planning to issue new planning policy guidance.

Mr Ingram said: “If there was a 2km limit it would just about prevent wind farms anywhere in England.”