There was quite literally an uprising against wind turbines yesterday as villagers fighting proposals for two wind farms let a “blimp” soar 400 feet into the air to show councillors how the structures will dominate the landscape.
The No Huntspill Wind Farm group hired the device as Sedgemoor District Council held the first of two meetings in East and West Huntspill, near Bridgwater.
EDF Energy and EcoTricity each hope to build wind farms in the area. EDF proposes five turbines east of the M5, while EcoTricity proposes four west of the motorway.
The companies say wind power is an effective way to reduce the use of fossil fuels, meet Government energy targets and heat thousands of homes, but objectors say turbines 394 feet tall will ruin the landscape, tourism and quality of life.
Alan and Anita Wilkinson, who founded Emerald Pool Fishery at West Huntspill say they will be among the worst affected. The couple founded their business nearly 19 years ago.
Mr Wilkinson said yesterday: “Two of the turbines would be within 500 metres. They are just so big, there would be the drone and light flashing off the water to contend with. We have six holiday cottages here and we are just building our own house.
“It’s a wildlife paradise here but if this goes ahead I would have to move. Nowhere else in Europe are these allowed within three kilometres of accommodation or property. These plans will turn the Somerset Levels into an industrial site.”
Mrs Wilkinson added: “We are fully booked until October and pass on enquiries from people we cannot accommodate to other local businesses. Our accommodation is park homes because it is tranquil here but they would be vulnerable.
“Our night angling would also be affected. We are open 24 hours a day. It is true that there is a railway line, but trains do not run through the night and are gone in five seconds.”
A spokeswoman for No Huntspill Wind Farm said: “Wind Turbines are not silent as developers often claim. Experience has shown that residents living up to a mile away can be seriously affected by noise, especially at night, causing sleep deprivation. The nearest houses will be less than 600m away.”
Ecotricity said the number of windmills it proposed has been cut from six to four after consultations with locals. The firm believes they will bring about the greatest environmental benefit for the least environmental impact.
EDF Renewables reduced the number of turbines it proposes from nine to five following feedback. It said the height had not yet been decided.
Sedgemoor councillors heard all parties views on the EDF plan last night, and will hear all parties’ views on the EcoTricity plan at West Huntspill on Thursday. A decision is expected next month.
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