The prospect of a full-blown wind farm springing up in the Vale is becoming reality now that a test mast has been approved in Ford.
The 50.2-metre anemometer will stand temporarily at Lower Waldridge Farm, Owlswick Road, for up to 18 months to measure wind speed.
If its wind results are positive the mast will be the pre-cursor to at least one wind turbine which will permanently alter the landscape.
Councillor Glenda Reynolds, Lib Dems, said: “They will come back with a wind farm that will be far more detrimental.
“If it proves positive then of course we’re going to get a wind farm; are we then going to end up with lots of wind farms?
“We should start to look at Aylesbury in general, at more areas in the Vale where there could be a wind farm, where it would be less obtrusive and effective.”
But Councillor Michael Rand, Conservative, said: “It’s not obtrusive as we’ve been led to believe.
“It’s there to prove if we have enough wind for the turbines which is another case entirely.”
However, the historic buildings officer said that a temporary mast does ‘not automatically result in an application for a full wind turbine’.
Councillor Judy Brandis, Conservative, said the recorded wind speeds are too slow for a turbine anyway.
She said: “The wind speeds are too low so there is very little point in putting a mast here.
“It’s an exceptionally flat area with 360 degree views and this will spoil them.
“You could have been here 100 years ago and nothing would have changed since then.”
However, the wind speeds in Ford have been measured at six metres per second – the speed at which most wind turbines can start generating electricity.
In the meantime, the wind mast will be highly visible over an area that has always enjoyed unobstructed views. Opposition has pointed out that there has never been so much as a common telephone pylon erected on the farm.
The impact on a number of listed structures, most notably the grade II Waldridge Manor and Pasture Farm, is also problematic.
Councillor Corry Cashman, Lib Dem, said: “It is very difficult to detect any unpleasant kind of contemporary setting here.
“It is a small but incremental development that is out of harmony with a very fine piece of countryside.”
The historic buildings officer maintained that due to its temporary nature the setting of the listed buildings and landscape would not be permanently affected and that government plans for renewable energy need to be kept in mind.
Councillor Brian Foster, Conservative, said: “We have to look broadly at the environmental impact, yes, and we’re looking at a relatively innocuous lattice structure but supporters will no doubt say that it’s a government policy to approve these environmental schemes.
“The test itself is unnecessary and irrelevant.
“The broad effect on this unique bit of countryside is sufficiently detrimental for us to refuse having a test structure.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding