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Somerset wind farm developers challenge survey result 

Credit:  Cheddar Valley Gazette, www.thisissomerset.co.uk 12 November 2011 ~~

The company behind plans to develop wind power at Rooksbridge have hit back at a poll of residents conducted by the anti-wind farm campaigners.

The survey of local people suggested that nearly 90 per cent were opposed to the wind turbines.

Anti-wind farm campaigner David Maude said: “The survey of over 600 local people shows that 89.9 per cent are against Pilrow, the wind farm at Rooksbridge.”

The main gripes from residents are the turbines would be a blot on the landscape of the levels and potentially lower house prices and encourage further wind farms.

These charges have been rejected by Broadview who hope to put in planning permission in the new year.

Tom Cosgrove, project manager at Broadview said: “Before we draw conclusions from a questionnaire of any kind, it’s important to review the questions asked and the nature of the study group.

“For the results to be meaningful, the questions should be objective and the respondents need to be a representative cross section of the community.

“However, it’s not unusual for there to be some localised opposition to developments such as this, as they inevitably change the local environment. We do understand the community’s concerns and we want to keep an open dialogue with residents.

“We would also encourage people to consider the broader picture. The UK is currently facing a significant challenge in keeping the lights on and, with the imminent closure of both nuclear and coal power stations across the country, onshore wind has the potential to contribute towards filling that gap at a relatively low cost.

“We hope the community will balance the national need for renewable energy alongside the localised visual impacts, and consider supporting the project.”

Rooksbridge resident John Rigarlsford carried out the survey of residents and reported there was an overwhelming ‘No’ vote from those asked.

Ninnian Macdonald who lives near the proposed site told the Gazette: “We are against the wind turbines, as we believe they are expensive, unreliable as a source of power and above all will spoil the character of the landscape of the Somerset Levels.”

The NoPilrow campaign have displayed posters throughout the area, enjoy the support of local MP Tessa Munt and the Wells constituency Conservative agent Andrew Barrand.

They have been galvanised by well attended meetings, fundraising events and a letter writing campaign that has given them a high profile in the area.

A by-election for the Brent Division in December may bring the issue to greater awareness as Rooksbridge falls in the electoral area.

The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have thrown their hats into the ring. It follows the death of Alan Ham who represented the area for many years.

Source:  Cheddar Valley Gazette, www.thisissomerset.co.uk 12 November 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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