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Anti-wind farm protest faces ‘misleading’ claim

Anti-wind turbine protestors are set to be hauled before the advertising watchdog accused of “vastly exaggerating” the appearance of proposed 125m turbines in Sellindge.

Residents’ group Salvation created a leaflet showing three turbines towering above local houses, a scene they claimed could become reality if Ecotricity wins planning permission to build six of them at Harringe Brooks.

But the energy firm has hit back, releasing its own images of what it claimed the landscape would look like, while lodging a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The Sellindge Residents’ Association, of which Salvation is a part, is also planning action and has vowed to take Ecotricity to the ASA as well as the Office of Fair Trading.

Nearly 200 people were at the latest residents’ meeting on Thursday, but organisers criticised Ecotricity for not turning up.

Salvation’s leaflet, headlined “Just a few days to save our villages”, compares the turbines’ height to the London Eye (135m), a pylon (42m), Sellindge Church (21m) and a standard house (7m).

But Ecotricity said the turbines in the main picture were four times higher than those proposed for the multimillion-pound wind farm at Harringe Brooks.

An Ecotricity spokesman said: “After the group repeatedly failed to respond to our concerns about this image, regretfully the only option left open to us to ensure the community was not further misled was to report this leaflet to the ASA.

“We have had comments of support as well as objections from residents throughout this process, but it is imperative that local people come to their own conclusions based on facts, not misleading imagery.”

The spokesman said the firm did not attend Thursday’s meeting over fears it “would not be a balanced dialogue”.

Ronald Lello, chairman of the Sellindge Residents’ Association, hit back, claiming Ecotricity’s public exhibition was “misleading and deceptive”.

He added: “They say they want to work closely with local residents, then fail to turn up at the meeting. More than 600 people have written to Shepway District Council (SDC) against this, so it’s a very strong movement.”

The planning application was submitted to SDC in May and a decision is due by the autumn.