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West Dorset community set up campaign to fight wind farm plan

A west Dorset community has set up a campaign to fight proposals to erect nine wind turbines near Tolpuddle.

The group – Tolpuddle Against Industrial Turbines (TAINT) – say the turbines are ‘hideous monstrosities’ and have raised concerns about health and noise issues they believe the turbines may cause.

But developers West Coast Energy say there is ‘no scientific evidence’ that turbines have an adverse affect on health, and that recent developments in technology mean the machines are often quieter than is thought.

Chairman of TAINT Richard Slocock said: “We set up this group because right from the outset we felt that this amount of turbines, measuring up to 126.5 metres in height, was completely inappropriate in our area of Dorset landscape.

“They really are hideous monstrosities, that is the only way I can think to describe them.”

Proposers West Coast Energy hope the wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 14,000 homes.

But Mr Slocock said members of the group, including villagers in Tolpuddle, Milborne St Andrew, Affpuddle, Briant-spuddle, Puddletown and Bere Regis, are worried about the impact of the turbines.

He said: “It’s not just the visual impact. There’s the horrible, repetitive noise keeping people awake, and the low frequency noise – and it is thought that can give some people trouble with headaches and nausea.”

Planning and development manager Matt Hayes, from West Coast Energy said a ‘mixture of views’ had been expressed.

He said: “We have put on a number of presentations and exhibitions in the area, and while we are aware of the action group, there is a supportive element of residents.”

A planning application has not yet been submitted for the West Dorset Wind Farm but Mr Hayes said this is in the process of being ‘finalised’.

He added: “Obviously, this will include a very detailed environmental impact statement, which we believe will set out the facts relating to the wind farm.”

If planning permission is granted, construction is expected to begin in 2015 and a share of the profits from the wind farm would be donated to the community.

Members of TAINT are putting on a series of meetings in the villages to put forward their views.