March 8, 2012

‘We would sooner have nuclear power here’

West Briton, 8 March 2012

Residents fighting plans for a wind turbine in Ladock have said they would prefer nuclear power to its greener alternative.

It seems wind turbines have the power to divide a community as residents were split into those for and those against the development.

Heated exchanges flew when Probus Parish Council debated Mark Harvey’s application to site a 46m turbine on his farm at Swallows Court.

The main objections centred on the creation of a cluster of turbines in the area and their cumulative impact on the landscape.

Farmer Michael Lock, who sold Swallows Court after he retired in 1994, said the proposed turbine would loom over his property, with concerns that the noise may cause a nuisance.

Ladock resident Jeremy Sharp told councillors a petition of 94 objectors had been handed to planners.

“There are 11 wind turbine applications within a two-mile radius,” he added. “These cannot be considered on their own. There is strong feeling among local people, who are also concerned by the flicker effect and noise.”

When asked what alternatives he could use, apart from solar panels and wind energy, one resident told Mr Harvey: “We would rather have nuclear power than wind turbines.”

Mr Harvey is investing about £500,000 in installing ground-source heating, solar panels and a wind turbine at his farm.

More than 200 people, including local farmers, signed a petition in support of his application.

He defended his scheme, saying it was not a way of “making a fast buck” but would make his farm more viable as farming subsidies shrink.

After the meeting he told the West Briton: “I can’t afford to farm at the moment, I am leasing the land.

“I knew the wind turbine would be controversial. I am taking a risk, but I want to do my bit and help the Government reach its renewable energy target.

“The turbine is 30 per cent bigger than the one at Treworgans, and will generate 550,000kW per year. There have been a lot of untruths and misinformation about the plans.”

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive set a target for the UK to achieve 15 per cent of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Probus councillor Barry Wilcox said the council was not against renewable energy but there were now “too many wind turbines in the county”.

Members voted unanimously against the proposal and called on Cornwall Council to look at alternatives such as solar panels and wave energy.

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