An 85-metre, £2.4 million wind turbine is set to be installed in a picturesque country park.
Braintree District Council wants to build a 1.5MW turbine at Great Notley’s Discovery Centre and is asking residents what they think of the plans.
First mooted in 2007, the turbine is expected to be located at the western boundary at the southern end of the park and will be 500 metres from the nearest home.
Cllr Robert Mitchell, deputy cabinet member for environment, said: “What makes this project so special is that, unlike many wind turbine projects, we are not involving a private developer.
“This means the wind turbine will be owned by the community for the community – so that every penny earned from selling the electricity into the National Grid, and from Government feed-in tariffs, will get ploughed straight back into council services.
“With big rises in wholesale electricity prices continuing, this project will be a sound, green investment that will bring ever-increasing financial returns to support local services for the future.”
But others are wary of the project and say it is important that any money generated be spent on the park.
Stan Davies, 67, chairman of the Friends of the Flitch Way, a group of volunteers who work to improve the park, said: “It’s a big structure but we have to be realistic about these things – it will generate money for the council.
“And while I haven’t canvassed all of our 100 members, I think people will be generally supportive as long as some of the money from the electricity sold comes back to the country park.”
The council hopes the turbine will save taxpayers £250,000-a-year by selling electricity back to the grid and reduce its carbon footprint by 1,350 tonnes.
A planning application is set for next autumn and, if approved, the council will spend £2.4 million on the project, which is expected to generate a 10 per cent annual return on investment.
The eight-week public consultation begins on Saturday.
The plans will be on display at The Discovery Centre from Saturday until Thursday, but residents have until February 10 next year to submit their comments to the council.
Visit www.braintree.gov.uk to respond to the survey or request a paper copy on 01376 552525.
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