Campaigners were celebrating this week after learning BT has withdrawn its plans for a windfarm on land near Clare.
After analysing wind measurements through a meteorological mast put up 18 months ago the company says there is not enough wind to make the project “economically viable” and it is not going ahead with applying for planning permission for three 300-foot high wind turbines at Leys Farm in Chilton Street.
A BT spokesman said: “After extended wind monitoring and analysis, we have concluded that there is not sufficient wind resource necessary to make a future wind project viable at this location and, therefore, we will not be progressing with the planned development.”
Two action groups, formed to fight the turbine plans, said they were delighted with the decision. But campaigners said they could not rest on their laurels because they are gearing up to fight another energy company proposal to build up to 10 turbines – even higher than those proposed by BT – on land adjacent to the BT site.
A planning application is being considered for another meteorological mast, this time 260-foot high, to be put up on Canhams Farm in Stoke by Clare on arable farmland, submitted by South Suffolk Wind Energy, a subsidiary of West Coast Energy.
This could be followed by a planning application to build up to 10 wind turbines – each measuring more than 400-foot high – according to Iona Parker, from STOC – Stop Turbines Over Clare.
She said: “Whilst the BT scheme has been withdrawn, there are now plans for a even bigger wind farm on the next door farm so, whilst we are very pleased that BT is not proceeding, the fight is far from over.”
The group, whose website is www.stopclarewindfarm.com, has amassed 900 members since being formed 18 months ago and says it still believes Clare is not a suitable place to have a windfarm.
“They have decided there’s not enough wind at the site but we think this proposal is far also too close to housing,” added Mrs Parker. “There would be issues of noise. We believe this is not a suitable place to have a windfarm.”
A spokesman for CATT, Clare Against The Turbines, said members were being urged to get out the Champagne to celebrate. But he said: “CATT will continue to campaign against wind farm projects in this county, nationally and internationally.
To those who have been unable to sell houses due to planning blight, best wishes now. I hope they also remove the mast promptly.”
He added: “We will never know how much our relentless opposition played in the final outcome. There will be more in the pipeline as the Government’s slowly-changing stance on wind power means that there is only a limited window of opportunity before they become completely unprofitable.”
MP for west Suffolk Matthew Hancock felt the news vindicated the efforts of local campaigners.
He said: “I am delighted that this inappropriate proposal has been withdrawn and very pleased that BT has finally seen the light of day.
“It is a pity that they did not listen over a year ago when it was made clear to them that this scheme was totally inappropriate. “Now I will put full pressure on West Coast Energy to withdraw its unsuitable nearby proposal.
“I will work closely with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to ensure that the Local Plan can put a stop to the threat of these proposals for good.”
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