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Flaws in wind turbine petition

Re: “Thanks for quarry support”, January 24.

I was much amused by Guy Calder’s letter, thanking the “hundreds and hundreds of local people” who were supporting his application for an industrial wind turbine at Maesbury Quarry.

Only the week before I had been to the Mendip offices to scrutinise his application, and sadly found the whole bundle flawed.

With regard to the 800 people who had signed his various scrappy petitions, dating over two years, only 238 apparently lived within the BA5 postcode area (ie within 15 miles of the site). Since many of the signatures appeared to have been gathered in pubs and restaurants, it was the locational postcode that was given, not the signers.

Only three respondents were within 1.5 miles of the site, and the dates on their signatures suggested that they were in favour of Guy Calder’s earlier application for a solar panel farm, not a more lucrative wind turbine.

More seriously, because the application got the site reference wrong twice, the wrong parish received the application (Croscombe) and the villages most impacted, Maesbury, Haydon and the Horringtons, were not consulted at all. 358 of the so-called petitioners came from elsewhere, ranging from Street to Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, and Ripon in Yorkshire.

Most identified themselves as visitors or tourists. Most tellingly, the real neighbours to the site feature in the planning folder as objectors. So much for his supporters.

More worryingly, the application documents themselves are seriously flawed, and raise wider questions about the integrity of the Mendip planning processes. For example, the developers claim that they were “exempted from an Environmental Impact Assessment”.

Surely not? Because the site reference was wrong, the submitted plans for access by the giant delivery trucks over a weak bridge subject to weight limitations were rendered invalid.

The wrong year was recorded for the applicant’s final claim for a correct grid reference, 2012 instead of 2013.

There is no evidence of any seismic survey of a site on karst limestone, with known swallets and subterranean caverns, when in my view such a site could collapse under the weight of a concrete and steel plinth supporting a mast twice as tall as the West Front of Wells Cathedral, resulting in the possible pollution of St Andrew’s Well.

Pablo Foster East Horrington