- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Mast at ex-missile site must go

Campaigners fighting wind farm plans at a former missile site are still waiting for the energy firm behind the proposal to remove a test mast – more than six months after permission for the structure ran out.

Three-year approval for the 60 metre-high meteorological mast at the former RAF Harrington site near Draughton was granted by Daventry Council in June 2008.

Nuon Renewables installed it so it could test wind speeds at the site ahead of an application to put seven 125m-high turbines there.

But the wind turbine scheme was eventually dismissed on appeal in 2010 and permission for the test mast ran out in June – six months on and it is still standing.

An application by Nuon in August to extend the permission for the mast by a further three years was recently rejected on the grounds it was too close to the nearby Cold War-era Thor Missile site, which was last summer granted Grade II-listed status.

Daventry Council’s planning committee was expected last night (Wednesday) to vote on putting an enforcement notice on the mast, ordering Nuon to remove it within a month.

Professor David Unwin, from the Say No To Harrington group, described Nuon’s request for an extension to the mast as ‘pathetic’.

The energy firm said last March it would be submitting new plans for a scaled down wind farm at the same site.

However, Prof Unwin told the Mail: “The data the mast gave is of very limited relevance for the promised-but-yet-to-emerge application for permission to build just three turbines in the sheltered valley to the west of the plateau.

“In Nuon Renewables’ original application they were saying the wind farm would produce enough energy to power 7,000 homes but it would be nowhere near that.”

A three-turbine scheme would create about 80 per cent of the environmental damage for less than 30 per cent of the energy output, claimed Prof Unwin.

The Welford and Brixworth area has been inundated with wind farm applications in recent years.

Eon was last month granted permission to build a four-turbine wind farm on the Kelmarsh Hall estate, while two applications for sites at Brixworth were turned down in 2008 and 2009.

A spokesman for Nuon Renewables said: “We applied to extend planning permission for the meteorological mast at Harrington to Daventry District Council.

“This application was refused by the local authority and we are in the process of making arrangements to have the mast taken down.”