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Group formed to battle wind energy plans

An action group has been formed to fight a flurry of wind turbine schemes in Fowey.

FLAG (Fowey Landscape Action Group) was set up after FREE (Fowey Renewable Energy Enterprise) submitted three applications as part of its drive to make the town more environmentally friendly.

FREE’s plans included 80kW wind turbines at Upper Penhale Farm and Lescrow and a 10kW one at Lower Penhale, which they say will generate about £100,000 a year for the town in electricity sales.

A meeting was held by FLAG on Tuesday to which FREE chairman Christine Wharton said she was not invited, despite the fact she wanted to speak.

The evening before, Lanteglos Parish Council had voted to support the Penhale Farm application.

Mrs Wharton said the decision was greeted by a commotion and some people shouting were asked to leave by the chairman.

The council voted to oppose the Lescrow Farm proposal.

Gary Alee from FLAG said the group was created because “these applications have all been pushed forward with precious little consultation with either residents or the many visitors who love Fowey”.

Fellow member Gary Venning, also from Fowey, said: “I feel an overpowering dread of the effect these units will have on our delicate tourism trade that is our life’s blood.

“Fowey has always been highly prized for its unspoilt landscape, its lasting visually identifiable role in our county’s heritage.

“This heritage was beautifully described by our own local legend Daphne Du Maurier in her books written here on the Fowey peninsula.”

He added that about 33 people came to Tuesday’s meeting, many of whom did not previously know about the applications.

FLAG now planned a leaflet drop around Fowey to alert people to the applications.

FREE was set up in 2010 to create community-owned renewable power, originating from a Parish Plan update the same year put together by Fowey Town Forum working together with the town council and the chamber of commerce.

It has investigated potential sites for renewable energy resources for the town and held two public exhibitions.

Mrs Wharton said: “I empathise with FLAG, as they want to preserve the beautiful countryside. It’s just different approaches.

“Our approach is to protect the landscape against climate change, as that will have a huge impact.”

Nine planning applications have been submitted by the community co-operative, made possible by a £64,000 grant awarded in February.

Three are for wind turbines and the rest are for temporary ‘screening’ instruments that would measure the wind speed at two different heights.

FREE is inviting anyone who has concerns about wind turbines or is interested in learning more about them to join a coach trip to a seminar at the University of Exeter’s Tremough campus in Penryn.

The coach party will visit an Endurance turbine en route. Visit www.freefowey.co.uk for more details.