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Clare: Concern over new bid to build wind turbines

Campaigners have criticised plans to build a wind turbine on the outskirts of a Suffolk town.

Developers have submitted an application to St Edmundsbury Borough Council for consent to build a 78metre tall turbine in Chilton Street near Clare. The location is near the spot where a similar project was shelved earlier this year because there wasn’t sufficient wind.

Chair of pressure group Stop Turbines Over Clare ( STOC), Iona Parker, said: “In our view, this area is not a suitable location for wind turbines, as it is rich in historical and architectural interest. The site is on the edge of the Stour Valley Project area and a turbine of this height would have a significant impact on views across the valley.

“There may also be noise and visual impacts for residents living nearby.”

Criticism has also come from Clare Town Council, which has opposed the plans.

Chairman Keith Haisman said: “Our policy is that commercial wind projects should be at least two kilometres from residential property and this one would only be about 700metres.

“The plan also does not contain an environmental impact assessment and there has been no consultation with residents.”

In July, BT announced it was shelving plans to build three wind turbines on neighbouring farmland, stating that there wasn’t “sufficient wind resource necessary to make a future wind project viable.”

“We were extremely surprised to find out that a planning application has been made for yet another turbine,” said Ms Parker.

“If there is no wind there, we cannot understand why there would be enough wind a few hundred metres away.”

Meanwhile, separate plans have also been submitted for consent to put up a meteorological monitoring mast near Lords Wood, midway between Clare, Stoke-by-Clare, Hundon and Kedington.

Ms Parker said the company behind the proposals, West Coast Energy (WCE), wants to build a wind farm on the spot. She said she has seen plans for a scheme consisting of up to 10 turbines each 126m tall.

Planning director at WCE, Steve Salt, said: “A wind energy development near Clare is something that we are interested in progressing in order to meet our nation’s challenging climate change and green energy targets.

“However, feasibility and environmental studies are still ongoing and we are not in a position to confirm our programme for community engagement or the submission of a planning application.”