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School’s turbine scheme sparks residents’ anger  

Credit:  North Devon Journal, www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk 1 December 2011 ~~

Controversial plans to site a wind turbine in the grounds of a North Devon school have met with opposition.

Shebbear College wants to install a 46m turbine as part of its long-term commitment to become more sustainable.

It says as well as being a learning tool for the curriculum and significantly reducing energy bills, the college has a social responsibility to tackle climate change.

But, the move has met with anger from some residents, and opposition from campaign groups.

Penny Mills, chairman of the Torridge branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: “At 46m high, this is a large, noisy, industrial machine, which will be located in a truly quiet rural location close to neighbouring residential properties.

“Many people have been contacting me, all very concerned at the size and location of this turbine and worried about the noise and visual impact it will have. Residents are upset that the school should be proposing something so controversial in the heart of the community and are asking why, when the school has a lot of land, they are not proposing some ground mounted solar arrays instead.

“Solar arrays would still achieve their aims of reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and be an educational tool for the children, but would clearly have far less of an impact on neighbouring properties.”

Members of the Shebbear Parishes Protection Group, which is fighting the college proposal and another four separate wind turbine plans in the area, say the turbines will dwarf Shebbear and adjoining parishes, degrade the landscape and spoil the tranquillity of the area.

A separate objector, John Barker, said in a letter to Torridge District Council, that his family relocated to Shebbear from Surrey as it was a peaceful and safe place to bring up children.

He said: “If this wind turbine gets approval it will no doubt set a precedent for another four, all of which are taller than that proposed for Shebbear College.”

He also objected on grounds of noise issues and said there was little evidence of any real advantages of wind turbines.

The council has received letters both for and against the application which will be decided by its plans committee in the new year. School governor Nick Buckland said: “Great care has been taken to site the turbine in as unobtrusive a position as possible on college land.

“I believe that Shebbear College has a duty to be a leader and to demonstrate to the pupils, alumni and community that we are at the forefront of taking a stand on a subject that will affect us all in the not too distant future and a wind turbine, as part of an overall sustainability strategy, is a positive demonstration of that leadership.”

A spokesman for the college said the on site turbine follows on from a successful bio-diesel plant initiative run by students.

He said: “We have been researching this for two years and it is the result of a very considered decision. We are investing in it for our own energy use. We are not a big developer, we are not on a skyline and it is for the sole use of the school.”

Source:  North Devon Journal, www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk 1 December 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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