Pressure group STOP has set the community the challenge of raising £20,000 to help fight the Asfordby windfarm.
Peel Energy wants to build nine turbines up to 125m high on land between Asfordby Hill and Ab Kettleby but was refused planning permission. An appeal will be heard in May.
Melton Council, which turned down the original application last July on the basis of impact on the landscape and heritage assets, has already set aside £80,000 to engage expert witnesses and a barrister.
STOP wants to flag up residents’ concerns over noise and the potential interference to digital radio and television transmissions posed by the proposed windfarm to add weight to the council’s case against the turbines.
Speaking at a public meeting held at The Stute, Asfordby Hill, STOP campaigner Bill Musson said: “There are 300 homes within 1km of the nearest turbine, some as close as 600m, and up to 6,000 homes within 2km of one which makes noise an issue for many people.
“In addition to recruiting an expert in this field to present evidence at the inquiry, we would also like to engage a legal representative to question Peel and to fly blimps on the day the inspector visits the site.
“Raising £20,000 in just six weeks is a big ask but this is our absolute final chance to fight this. These turbines will be highly visible on every approach into Melton whose rural heritage and landscape is its biggest appeal.”
Parish councils in the area are being asked to contribute to the fighting fund with Ab Kettleby already contributing £1,500, 20 per cent of its precept. A bucket collection at the public meeting rasied £356.70. Cheques payable to STOP should be forwarded to STOP, 44 Wartnaby Road, Ab Kettleby, LE14 3JJ.
More than 800 people, plus bodies such as English Heritage and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, objected to the windfarm proposal and STOP is mobilising support once again. Asfordby Parish Council is concerned about the risk of flooding in Asfordby Valley if the scheme is given the go-ahead.
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Ruth North of STOP said: “Peel is counting on public apathy so we need people to put up their posters and come forward. We need the inspector to see the strength of local feeling as we will have to live with his decision for the next 25 years.”
Margaret Morris, of Saxelbye, said: “From the top of our hill we can see the windfarm at Lutterworth 25 miles away. People have to understand this issue has not gone away. The turbines are huge and overpowering.”
A Holwell resident, who asked not to be named, added: “I’ve just spent time in Consett, County Durham, and the noise of the turbines there was terrible. They will be a blight on our rolling countryside.”
Peel will argue at the inquiry that the stated reasons for turning its application down were noted as insufficient grounds for refusal by Melton Council’s own planning officers.
It said it will demonstrate the positive aspects of its scheme and the ‘valuable contribution it will make towards generating renewable electricity within the region’.
Peel says the Asfordby windfarm would have an installed capacity of up to 18MW, generating enough electricity to mete the average needs of more than 8,500 homes.
A pre-inquiry hearing was held on Tuesday with the inquiry itself due to open on May 8 at Phoenix House in Nottingham Road with 12 sitting days.
STOP wants to hear from any groups which may wish to speak at the inquiry and is also seeking fundraisers and help to establish a website and Facebook page. You can email info@STOPtheTurbines.org or call (01664) 822975 or 812676.
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