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Long wait for result in Norfolk turbine case  

Credit:  By Dominic Bareham, Eastern Daily Press, www.edp24.co.uk 3 May 2012 ~~

An action group fighting plans for three wind turbines on a Norfolk airfield could face a long wait to find out the results of a planning inquiry into a decision to refuse the plans.

The 4Villages group is opposed to TCI Renewables’ scheme to install the 126m high turbines at Upper Vaunces Farm near Pulham Market, but a spokesman for the Planning Inspectorate warned the results of last week’s inquiry may not be known for at least seven weeks due to a heavy workload.

Planning inspector Zoe Hill led the three-day inquiry at South Norfolk Council’s offices, which heard the turbines on the land between Rushall, Dickleburgh, Pulham Market and Pulham St Mary could jeopardise the safety of bats and birds, including barn owls and raptors flying to a nearby reservoir which could become fatally entangled in the turbines’ rotor blades.

Jonathan Clay, of 4Villages, cross-examined senior ecologist John Box, of Atkins engineering, who carried out a survey to determine the likely impact of the turbines on the biodiversity of the area.

He asked Mr Box whether birds travelling on a flight path from Rushall to the new agricultural reservoir 500m from the turbines would collide with the blades, to which the ecologist replied the birds could have some “interaction” with the turbine.

Earlier, Mr Box told the inquiry that grass-cutting measures around the new reservoir would prevent the growth of large bushes and trees in which birds could nest and would also mean the turbines could be seen clearly.

However, Mr Clay said there was still a risk birds could be attracted to the reservoir and disputed the level of visibility, asking whether the view would be blocked by an embankment.David Hardy, representing TCI Renewables, said the reservoir was for agricultural purposes and not wildlife.

The applicants say the 9MW turbines would provide renewable power for about 3,500 homes, but the plans were rejected in December.

Source:  By Dominic Bareham, Eastern Daily Press, www.edp24.co.uk 3 May 2012

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