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Campaigners fighting plans for wind farm near Olveston gain extra support

Activists fighting plans to build a wind farm on green belt land near Olveston have secured the backing of a third parish council.

The Olveston Wind Farm Action Group (OWAG) is growing in strength under the leadership of new chairman Claire Barnard, and after receiving pledges of support from Olveston and Aust councillors as well as MEP Ashley Fox, it has now been endorsed by Pilning and Severn Beach Parish Council.

The group was originally set up by Ingst villagers in response to developer REG Windpower’s proposal to erect three “intrusive” 126-metre turbines by the M48. Following a cross-village campaign, it now boasts more than 100 members.

With the backing of a third authority, OWAG is hoping to follow in the footsteps of anti-Stoneyard Lane wind farm activists, in Oldbury, who successfully lobbied their councillors, formed a parish liaison group and succeeded in quashing plans they deemed unsuitable.

OWAG chairman Mrs Barnard, from Elberton, said: “They had three parish councils all shoulder to shoulder and we are trying to take the same position. We are very pleased.”

The turbines would mar the area’s picturesque landscape and be visible as far as Pilning and Almondsbury, the action group said.

The 41-year-old engineer added: “This development is not right. The turbines are so huge. The whole Severn Crossing will be blighted by these things.”

But Pilning and Severn Beach Council did not only join the group to preserve its vista as it has very specific concerns about a development of such an industrial scale.

If construction were to get the green light, Northwick village would end up at the centre of REG Windpower’s transport route, with lorries going back and forth on a single track road, Bilsham Lane, not at all adapted to heavy good vehicles, council chairman Ian Roberts said.

“It would be going through Northwick village and down Bilsham Lane and the road is breaking up already,” he said.

A REG Windpower spokesman said, however, that the firm would fix the road before any construction lorries were allowed on it. He added that truck movement would be restricted to certain times of the day to minimise disruption.

“The road through the villages will be enhanced before construction goes through to ensure that the raods are safe,” he said. “The turbines themselves will come directly through the M48.”