More than a year after a wind farm was first proposed by the M48 near Olveston, an application has finally been lodged with planning chiefs.
On Friday, REG Windpower submitted its plans to erect two 130-metre turbines in Ingst to the local authority.
Although this came as no surprise to campaigners from Olveston Wind farm Action Group (OWAG) and other opponents to the scheme, they deemed the timing of the submission “outrageous”.
OWAG chairman Claire Barnard said: “Submitting a planning application over Christmas for me feels wrong. The deadline is Boxing Day. I am sure they will hope people will be too distracted to respond by Christmas. It is absolutely not the right development.”
The group has been backed by three parish councils – Olveston, Aust and Pilning and Severn Beach.
REG Windpower originally hoped to build three 127-metre turbines but the firm unexpectedly scaled down the development to two in September, though it increased their total height slightly.
Sophie Hartfield, REG Windpower’s development manager, told the Gazette the timing of the submission would not prevent residents from commenting on the application. Comments can be sent to South Gloucestershire Council long after the official consultation deadline, she said.
“We were hoping to submit the application earlier but because we made some changes to reduce the number of turbines it delayed things slightly,” she said.
“We have been consulting local residents for 15 months now and are very grateful for the feedback which has helped us design a project capable of generating significant quantities of renewable electricity while minimising effects on the local environment. ”
The company said the project would help meet the energy needs of 2,800 to 3,100 homes.
Severn Cllr Matthew Riddle, who had opposed a similar development in Oldbury, felt, however, the amount of energy produced was not worth the “damage” the wind farm would cause.
He said: “The damage to the landscape of the Severn Vale, to the setting of Olveston Conservation Area and to locally listed buildings, is far greater than the relative small amount of electricity will be produced by these 130-metre industrial structures.”
REG Windpower has pledged to set up a community fund of £20,000 per year if the wind farm is given the go-ahead.
OWAG will distribute brochures on Saturday, December 15 in Olveston explaining how to comment on the application. Campaigners will set off from Olveston Parish Hall at 10am.
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