May 15, 2012

Appeal lodged for third Dengie wind farm

Maldon Chronicle, 15 May 2012

A third wind farm may yet come to the Dengie after developers launched a last-minute appeal.

Plans for seven 125 metre-high wind turbines on Turncole Farm, between Burnham and Southminster, were rejected by Maldon district council in October.

With two other wind farms already approved for Hockley Farm in Bradwell, and Middlewick Farm, near Southminster, totalling 19 turbines, 551 people wrote letters of objection claiming a third farm would be a noisy blot on the landscape.

But last week renewable energy developer RES appealed the decision, just before the six-month appeal period ran out.

Jon Knight, Development Project Manager for Turncole Wind Farm, said: “We were very disappointed to see Maldon district council reject our original application on the predominant basis of visual impact.

“We are confident that this sensitively-designed project will be an asset to the area surrounding Turncole Farm by taking advantage of the excellent wind speeds to help secure a clean and renewable electricity supply without reliance on imported and expensive fossil fuels.”

It says its turbines, turning at full capacity, could power 7,585 homes every year.

RES says it will pay £25,000 every year towards community projects based on the amount of electricity generated by the turbines.

The Government currently has targets to generate 15 per cent of the country’s energy from renewables by 2020, which would mean 10,000 wind turbines on land. At the moment only 3,162 stand on shore.

Brian Beale, a Maldon District Councillor for Southminster, said: “As a district we do not have an allocation to fill regarding renewable energy and with the localism bill coming in June, we want to look to the environment and the benefits on the local population.

“However, there are inspectors that come down and can decide something that’s against the local opinion.

“This should change under the localism bill and I would expect talks to take weeks, if not months before anything is decided regarding the appeal.”

Before plans for Turncole Wind farm are deliberated by a planning inspector based in Bristol, they must be accepted by the Government and arguments from both sides considered.

Pip Thorogood, the chairman of Southminster Inhabitants Environmental Group Enterprise (SIEGE), said: “We are not particularly happy about news of RES’ appeal but it was what we expected. There were a lot of issues for the company to overcome, we will see if the appeal is accepted.”

Burnham Town councillor and Tillingham resident, Jack Sheppard, said: “I do not like wind farms. I think they are expensive and inefficient things.

“The Government seem to think they are the answer but we need loads for them to make any difference. The town council has raised objections but it will go ahead. I think that eventually the wind farm will get accepted.”

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