May 8, 2012

Campaigners braced for second windfarm in Clare

Suffolk Free Press, 8 May 2012

Telecoms giant BT is close to making a decision on whether or not to build a windfarm on land near Clare.

The company is considering putting three 300-foot wind turbines on land at Leys Farm, Chilton Street, and has spent the last 18 months collecting wind information from its meteorological mast at the site.

It is part of the company’s aim to generate enough energy for its own future use from onshore wind power projects around the country,

This week, BT spokesman Paul Hayward said: “We are doing our final wind yield assessments, and expect to announce a decision on our next steps very shortly.”

BT got permission for its mast for a period of three years which expires in August, 2013. The mast allows the company to measure wind speeds and direction, with wind gauges measuring speed at different heights.

The company held a two-day exhibition of its plans in the town last year which was attended by 250 people.

Campaigners against the proposal say they have grown frustrated with the lack of information from the company, and say they are now faced with plans for a second windfarm in the area.

Iona Parker, from Stop Turbines Over Clare, says a planning application is being considered for another meteorological mast, this time 80 metres high, to be put up on Canhams Farm in Stoke by Clare.

It is on arable farmland adjacent to the proposed BT site and is being submitted by South Suffolk Wind Energy, a subsidiary of West Cost Energy.

“We don’t know how many turbines would be built if a second windfarm is approved but we think they would be considerably bigger than the BT ones because the meteorological mast itself is 20 metres higher than the one we have currently at Leys Farm,” she said.

“We were told last year that BT would collate 12 months of data from its weather mast and make a decision about whether or not to apply for planning permission. But we have yet to find out what they are planning to do.”

She said there had been recent concerns in Norfolk about the noise made by wind turbines and the affects on those living near them.

“There are two turbines that are causing noise, which is a serious issue,” she said. “We are worried about this. It would be a problem for people living on The Heights in Clare.”

But BT says its has already carried out noise impact studies which have indicated noise would not be a “major issue”. It said it would install noise monitoring equipment at residential properties close to the site, as was normal practice, and would continue to monitor it.

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