A new campaign group has vowed to prevent the building of any more wind farms on Romney Marsh.
Members of Save Our Marsh – Block Rural Exploitation (Sombre) have pledged total opposition to the erection of turbines, which they say are a blight on the Marsh landscape.
Almost 100 people turned up at Newchurch village hall for Sombre’s official launch March 21, when the group’s agenda, and priority of stopping the building of wind developments, was set out.
The group, led by New Romney town councillor Patricia Rolfe, was set up in response to plans to build wind farms at Snave, Old Romney and Sellindge.
Cllr Rolfe says Sombre will gather local support, lobby councils, highlight economic and environmental arguments against wind farms and push for alternative sustainable energy schemes such as tidal power.
Opening the meeting, she said Sombre had already been promised support by MP Damian Collins and Kent County Council leader Paul Carter. Conservation bodies have already lodged formal objections to the three proposed developments.
“These wind farms have significant long-term consequences for Romney Marsh. It should be remembered that 26 wind turbines were installed at Cheyne Farm despite a wave of protests both locally and nationally,” said Cllr Rolfe.
“The decision was taken by the then Secretary of State. A legal challenge was blocked. Despite warnings from various organisations that flora and fauna would be irreversibly damaged, it still went ahead.”
Cllr Rolfe added the group would highlight that wind turbines – which she described as “industrial shards” – posed a threat to views and historic buildings, were being built on prime agricultural land, were potentially hazardous and threatened to “turn a birdwatchers’ paradise into a wasteland”.
County councillor Carole Walters explained the planning process last week, adding that much would depend on whether enough people protested.
She added that tourism was a main part of the strategy for economic growth on the Marsh.
“How are we going to sell wind turbines as a tourist attraction to the people who visit Romney Marsh?” she said. “It just doesn’t make sense.
“Small villages and parishes don’t have a powerful voice, and they are fearful of the future.”
Adrian Knight, who lives near Cheyne Farm, told of the constant hum emitted by the 125-metre-tall turbines.
“It’s like having a conversation with yourself or listening to the waves washing on to the shingle. When you take the dog out for a walk, you don’t want that,” he said.
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