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Residents' anger at Leicestershire wind turbine  

Credit:  By Nick Britten, The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk 12 June 2011 ~~

At 436ft high, it will stand as tall as the London Eye and only a few feet short of the Blackpool Tower.

And Britain’s tallest wind turbine is certainly attracting attention, albeit in a negative way.

Local residents are furious after they fought against it and the local council refused planning permission, only to see the Government’s Planning Inspectorate give it the go-ahead anyway after hearing it fits with the Conservative’s environmental targets for 2020 and 2050.

And now it appears certain that the turbine, set in a valley that residents say is “not very windy”, will be erected in the coming months

“It’s unbelievable that they would press ahead with something that nobody wants around here, that’s incredibly close to houses and which people are really, really concerned about,” said Beverley Carr, who has written to her local MP Stephen Dorrell asking for an explanation.

“It will be a costly and ugly blot on the landscape.

“We thought we had seen it off when the local council refused planning permission, only to find out after the event that the planning inspectorate had granted it.

“It seems to me they have totally ridden roughshod over the concerns and opinions of local people, just so that it fits in with their environment target.

“What happened to the Conservatives’ pledge to give more power to local people? I suppose it only applies when it suits their needs.”

The turbine is being erected by Severn Trent Water at a sewage treatment works near Rothley, Leics, and will provide around 6,900gw of energy, enough to power 1,800 homes.

In the face of local opposition, Charnwood Borough Council refused permission for it last year amid concerns about the size, noise, the shadow it would create, the increase in traffic and the impact installing it would have on wildlife and the environment. Locals believe it would be visible from up to 10 miles away.

It is being built in Europe, and costs and carbon emissions used in bringing it to Leicestershire, along with the concrete necessary to secure it in, far outweigh the emissions it will save, locals said.

When Severn Trent appealed the decision, the Planning Inspector concluded that any harm or inconvenience caused would be outweighed by the need for the Government to meet its future carbon emissions targets.

The British Climate Change Act 2008 sets a legal requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% on 2005 levels by 2020, and 60% by 2050.

The turbine is expected to become operational next year, and it is likely to operate at around 30 per cent productivity. There will be times when it is stationary.

Harold Wise, member of Rothley Parish Council, which also objected to the turbine, said it is going to be less than half a mile from his bungalow and would have a considerable impact because of its sound and size.

He said: “The decision by the Planning Inspector is raising two fingers to local opinion. Developers, not just with the wind turbine but also things like social housing, take the view that regardless of public opinion or council refusal they can go to appeal and win because it fits with the Government agenda.”

Martin Dent, Severn Trent Water Renewable Energy Development Manager, said the company generates 22 per cent of its own electricity but was keen to increase that in a turbulent market.

He said: “This turbine is part of our overall renewable energy strategy and one of a number of large scale turbine projects.

“With the cost of electricity and the damage to environment that is caused by fossil fuels, we are doing everything we can to cushion price rises and help our customers.

“There is also the UK Directive to consider; the Government has to reduce emissions.”

He said the turbine “has to be tall enough to catch prevailing winds and generate enough electricity, hence its size”.

He added: “We are confident this is a good development and whilst we fully accept and appreciate the concerns of local residents, we are confident the turbine will not have an impact on the local environment.”

Source:  By Nick Britten, The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk 12 June 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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