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Coddenham: Astronomer fears wind turbine will interfere with research  

Credit:  By Elliot Furniss, East Anglian Daily Times, www.eadt.co.uk 23 April 2012 ~~

A leading Suffolk astronomer says his work could be hampered if plans for a wind turbine on nearby farmland are approved.

Planning officers at Mid Suffolk District Council have recommended that permission for a single turbine at Coddenham Hall Farm be granted.

The council’s planning committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss the proposals but Tom Boles, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and director of Coddenham Observatory, says the turbine would affect his telescopes.

Officers have told the committee that the proposed turbine would support the dwelling and tourism accommodation at Coddenham Hall Farm and that issues of concern raised by the local economy had been “assessed and weighed against the renewable benefits of the turbine”.

The turbine would measure 15.4 metres to the hub and have blades with a diameter of 13.1metres.

In their report, professional lead officer for planning services Philip Isbell and planning officer Bronwen Curtis recommend that the plans be granted, subject to a number of conditions. Coddenham: Astronomer fears wind turbine will interfere with research

But Mr Boles, who explores supernova in deep space using his high-tech equipment and is a world leader in his field, said his views – and those of many others in the community who have also objected – had been ignored.

He said: “I have got three robotically-controlled astronomical telescopes and they search for supernova. I’m going right into space, looking for stars and to do that means I have to get the light very well focused.

“This is not a business – it’s a research operation I’m doing, there’s no commercial interest involved here at all.”

A total of 38 objections have been received from the surrounding community – including a petition of 111 signatures – while eight supportive representations were received during the consultation process.

Mr Boles said the turbine would create wind turbulence that would increase the “twinkling” of stars, making it harder to focus on them, and cause vibrations that would affect his equipment.

The committee is due to meet at the council offices in Needham Market at 9.30am.

Source:  By Elliot Furniss, East Anglian Daily Times, www.eadt.co.uk 23 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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