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Wind farm opposition gathers momentum

Noise pollution, flickering shadows and falling property prices are all in store for West Ashton if a proposed wind farm goes ahead, a meeting was told on Wednesday.

More than 100 people from nearby communities packed the village hall, some seeking information, others registering their support for the campaign against the farm.

Developer REG Windpower will submit a planning application for three 130m-high turbines at Grange Farm in Bratton Road within the next few months.

The meeting was organised by members of Stop Grange Farm Wind Farm action group, and chaired by Cate Mack of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

It opened with a presentation by group member Seb Chambers, who said: “There is no question that we need to do more in terms of renewable energy.

“The UK has decided to put wind farms off shore on a massive industrial scale, this proposal is tiny in comparison in terms of its energy output.

“Yet these turbines, taller than both the Lafarge chimney and Salisbury Cathedral, will have a major impact on the community.”

He went on to warn that turbines were eye-catching and noisy, dominating the local environment, and would lower house prices by as much as 20 per cent.

He claimed that developers were often motivated by the desire for generous government subsidies, which made even low output schemes profitable.

Mr Chambers’ words were followed by a video about a three turbine scheme in Swindon.

The meeting also heard from Dorset anti-wind farm campaigner Chris Langham, whose group have opposed two proposals successfully in their area.

During the Q&A the danger to planes landing at Keevil airfield was pointed out, with former pilot Robert Manning, of Steeple Ashton, noting that aircraft were only around 150m high at two miles from the runway.

Outside, several people told the Wiltshire Times the meeting had only reinforced their opposition to the plans.

Neil Heard, of Bratton Road, said: “It was good to see so many people there, and from all over the area. It just goes to show that no one wants these turbines here.”

The proposals have been opposed by parish councillors in West Ashton and nearby North Bradley. Visit www.stopgrangefarmwindfarm.com and www.grangefarmwindfarm.co.uk for more information.