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Fear giant turbines could spook farm’s rare horses

A couple who breed a rare type of horse fear they might be forced to close down their stud farm near Bristol because of three giant wind turbines planned on greenbelt land nearby.

Sarah Pomfret and her partner Brian Hopkinson, both South Gloucestershire councillors, breed Cleveland Bays at Ingst near the picturesque village of Olveston.

But they are fighting plans for the turbines which would tower more than 400ft above their premises – nearly as high as the concrete towers on the M48 Severn Bridge and virtually the same height as the turbines at Avonmouth.

The couple say the movement and noise from the swishing blades would spook their horses and wreck their breeding programme. There are less than 300 Cleveland Bays left in the country and their stallion, Brayden, is helping keep the pedigree alive.

The breed is used to pull the royal carriages because of their size and strength yet graceful shape, temperament and rich, dark colour.

Ms Pomfret, who set up the stud four years ago, said: “Horses are vulnerable, sensitive creatures which are easily disturbed by something as simple as a shadow or even a bird in a hedge. If the turbines were built, it would be too much of a risk for the horses. We would have to close.”

Mr Hopkinson said: “These turbines are proposed in a part of the English countryside that time has forgotten. I appreciate the need to use sources of renewable energy but not if it’s going to wreck people’s lives.”

Farmer John Harding, who would be overlooking the turbines, said: “There seems to be a strong consensus of people in the area who are against them. They would devalue our property, that’s for sure.”

Villager Mary North said: “It’s very sad, it’s so unspoilt.”

But landowner farmer Stuart Lyons said nearby pylons and two motorways made the site suitable.

The developer, Bath-based REG Windpower, has yet to apply for planning permission but has held public meetings and staged exhibitions.

Spokesman Nick Webb said: “We have followed the recommended British Horse Society Guidelines and ensured the proposed turbines are more than 200 metres from bridleways.”

He cited Delabole, a commercially operational wind farm which has a horse stud farm within 50m. He added that the area was suitable as the landscape was broken by pylons and the motorways and structures such as the Severn Bridge were taller than the turbines would be.