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Wollaston wind farm plan opposed

Villagers against plans for two 71m (233ft) wind turbines on a farm in Northamptonshire have raised concerns at a public meeting.

Plans for two 250KW turbines on a field off Hinwick Road, Wollaston, were met with worry over the impact they would have on the village.

The effectiveness of the turbines was questioned as was their estimated £180,000 annual subsidy.

Landowner Chris Sumner has defended the scheme.

James Fulton from Berrybrothers, who are representing Mr Sumner’s application, spoke on behalf of the scheme at the meeting.

He said the turbines were designed to set off the estimated 470 tonnes of C02 emitted annually from Tower farm.

‘Low visual impact’

He said: “The turbines chosen are tall, there is no getting around that, but they were specifically chosen for their low visual impact.

“It will aid the long term sustainability of this farming business.”

However, many residents at the meeting remained unconvinced and cheered those speaking against the plans.

Brian Skittrall, wind farm specialist for the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, said the driving force behind the applications was money.

“Given this area has one of the lowest wind resources in Britain you wonder why we are being targeted,” he said.

“There are two reasons, first of all this area is clear of restrictions like big airports, and secondly, most importantly, there are over-generous subsidies.

‘Not considering the village’

Derek Clark, UKIP MEP also spoke against the plans. He said: “They don’t work. They aren’t green. They start life with a two to three year C02 deficit.”

Residents voiced a variety reasons for their opposition the application.

Concerns included how the turbines will look, the possible effect the turbines would have on the health of residents, the noise, the effect on animals, and the effect on a site of archaeological interest.

Many questioned the 18.8p subsidy that Mr Sumner will receive for every unit of electricity produced – which equates to roughly £180,000 a year.

Resident Paul Bateman, 71, of York Road, Wollaston, said: “They are not considering the village at all.

“There are so many reasons against it, and only one for. It’s greed.”

The plan and the subsidy was defended by Mr Sumner who said the £180,000 is an estimate of what he will receive a year but added that the turbines would cost between £1.25m and £1.5m to build and maintain.

He said: “Yes there will be a profit but no-one would invest in anything without a return. It is a business opportunity but it will also help to offset my carbon footprint.”

The meeting at the village hall was the latest event organised by the campaign group Say no to Wollaston Wind farm. At the end of the meeting, 74 people voted against the scheme, 4 for it and 7 abstained.

Members of the group are flying a blimp over the village to demonstrate the height the turbines would reach.