Borough council officials have today stressed that it is up to the planning system to decide whether controversial wind turbines will be built on the edge of the town.
Partnerships for Renewables (PfR), a green energy company, is working with Ipswich Borough Council – which owns the land between Pinewood and Belstead – to site the two 130-metre wind turbines.
The borough council entered into a lease agreement with PfR two years ago, but is keen to stress that if PfR submits a planning application, it will be determined by members of Babergh District Council, as the site lies in Babergh rather than Ipswich.
Around 300 furious residents turned out for an emergency meeting on Sunday, organised by campaign group Stop Ipswich Turbines (SIT), to share their concerns about the project.
Residents’ main concerns centre around the noise and vibrations that could be created by the turbines and “flicker” – which is when the sun or moon is low in the sky and shines directly into houses from behind the moving blades.
PfR, which has undertaken a thorough set of environmental studies, is said to be continuing to consult with residents over the plans before the final design is submitted.
Councillor Sandy Martin, Greener Ipswich portfolio-holder, said: “When studies were done of the possible locations for wind turbines, Thorington was shown to be by far the most acceptable location, which is why the previous Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration signed a lease agreement with PfR for that site.
“Before any approval is given by Babergh, PfR will have to demonstrate, via an Environmental Impact Assessment, that there will not be a significant impact on local residents.
“That is only right and, while we are confident there will be no significant effect, we are not part of the planning process.”
SIT campaigners hope that the proposals can be stopped before they reach the planning application stage.
SIT campaigner Peter Evans said: “We’d rather it not go that far. We feel there’s overwhelming evidence that it would be unbearable to people living there.
“We want Ipswich Borough Council to meet us as soon as possible so we can present our findings.”
A planning application is expected to be submitted at the end of the year or beginning of 2013.
Concerned residents will have a further chance to discuss the issue at the next South West Ipswich Area Committee on November 7. A venue has yet to be selected for the meeting.