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Council rap over wind energy plan

Council chiefs have been accused of adopting a policy of “greed energy” and not green energy after outlining proposals for more wind turbines – including six in North Cornwall.

Recommendations were due to go before Cornwall Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday to spend £16 million to construct turbines at ten locations across the county.

All the applications will see turbines erected on council-owned farms at Barwick Cuby and Trevorva, both near Probus; Trevascus Gorran, near St Austell; Bodilly Wendron and South Trenoweth, both at Breage, near Helston; Broadlands, at Jacobstow,; North Hellescott, Launceston; Bodwen Helland, Bodmin; Trevease Constantine, near Falmouth and Menerdue Stithians, near Redruth.

According to the report Cabinet will consider, an investment of £20 million on ten sites will pay back in around four years on average, yielding a gross income of more than £5 million per year.

The report acknowledges the risk of changing government financial incentives such as the Feed-in-Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive on the project. It states: “These incentives are the subject of review by the Government and are frequently changed, which impacts on the anticipated financial returns.”

But Danny Mageean, from conservation group Cornwall Protect, said Cornwall Council was failing the county by not properly assessing the cumulative impact of wind turbine applications, with 94 turbines already built and more on the way: “The council is just not fulfilling their requirements to access the impact it has on the environment,” he said.

“These applications have been provoked by the Feed-In Tariff. The council has no overall energy strategy – this is greed energy not green energy.”

And Arthur Ludgate, chairman of Blisland Parish Council, which will be close to the turbine at Bodwen Helland said: “Personally, I think that all wind turbines should be considered not just on the impact on the land where it will sit but how it will fit within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“It’s all well and good if it is constructed outside the AONB but will be seen from within the AONB itself. I can’t see how it won’t affect tourism – a lot of people come to this area to walk.”

However, Merlin Hyman, chief executive of the green energy group Regen South West, said: “It’s very exciting to see Cornwall Council taking the lead in developing wind energy on its own land. This project will make use of Cornwall’s natural wind resources and enhance the county’s energy security while generating long-term revenue.”

According to the report the project could power more than 10,000 homes. If councillors agree, the scheme could be running in 18 months’ time.