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Bulldozer protest threat

A protester is threatening to lie down in front of the the bulldozers to stop one of Wigan’s first private wind turbine schemes.

Furious former Wigan councillor Edward Houlton says he is prepared for “direct action” to halt erection of the tower on agricultural land in the east of the borough.

He also warns that he is so concerned about the threat to Wigan’s “ever dwindling” green belt he is prepared to chain himself to the turbine to prevent its being brought on stream.

Councillors have given the project the go-ahead after an impassioned plea from dairy farmer Tom Rigby that he needed the generator – 27m high to the tip of the blades – to lower power costs of the milking machinery and keep the unit viable and operational.

Planners went on to tell the development committee that there was no evidence of any human health risks or damage to bird life.

Planner Graham Dickman said that the Government’s new national planning policy framework (NPPF) advised that the wider environmental benefits from renewable power were a “special circumstance” able to justify greenbelt development.

And said the nearest home to the turbine was 250m away – with most were up to 600m distant.

Mr Dickman said: “It may be said to be a large structure but it also very thin and visible impact is reduced by its shape and physical distance from receptors.

“It is inevitable that wind turbines are situated in open locations and most open locations in the Wigan borough are now in the green belt.”

But protester Mr Houlton said neighbours had serious continuing concerns about potential ultra-sound emissions from the whirring blades.

The 20st six-footer, who lives in Newton Road, said: “I am prepared to lie down in front of the bulldozers to stop this happening or whatever action the community wants or is happy for me to take to stop this happening.

“Somebody needs to save my village from this poor idea and I don’t mind if that role falls to me.”