Outraged villagers have vowed to fight to overturn a £29 million plan to create a huge wind farm in open countryside outside Peterborough.
The venture involves the construction of eight large wind turbines on a 29 hectares site at Gores Farm, Whittlesey Road, Thorney, with each 3MW turbine expected to be 126.5 metres high.
The proposed site is currently owned by three individual farmers but the developers say agreement has been reached to lease out the land if the plans are approved by Peterborough City Council.
The eight turbine wind farm project has been drawn up by Peterborough Wind Energy, which is a subsidiary of the Wales-based West Coast Energy, which has just submitted the plans to the council.
The height of the wind turbines dwarfs the historic Thorney Abbey, which stands at 30 metres high.
Village resident Sarah Bartleet, whose home overlooks the development site, said: “We are hugely concerned for the village and the local landscape.
“The developers say the turbines are planned to remain in place for 25 years but we want to know what will happen after that?
“These turbines will be one mile from the conservation village of Thorney and not far from a site of special scientific interest at Nene Washes, which is renown for its wading birds.”
She added: “Each turbine will be four times as high the historic Thorney Abbey.”
Councillor David Sanders, one of the representatives for Thorney on Peterbrorough City Council, said: “The majority of the villagers are opposed to this scheme. We are horrified by it.
“We will be fighting this application at every stage of the planning process.
“The wind farm will ruin our natural heritage that has been enjoyed for generations.
“We are concerned that these turbines are not efficient or safe.”
He added: “The village will be blighted if these wind turbines are put up.”
Steve Salt, planning and public affairs director at West Coast Energy, said the proposed wind farm could generate up to 24MW of power – equivalent to the annual domestic electricity consumption of 13,011 homes.
He said the venture included a community benefit package that would see 10 per cent of the wind farm’s profits being donated to the community.
“This could reach as much as £96,000 a year for the 25 years life span of the wind farm.
Mr Salt said the construction of the wind farm, if approved, could involve about 2,465 lorry movements, excluding abnormal loads.
A report to the council states: “The impact of construction on the local community will be negligible as the number of vehicle movements will be low.”
The construction is expected to take up to nine months to complete. The abnormal loads will involve 72 two-way trips to deliver tower sections, blades, components and mobile cranes.
It states wind turbines are safe and the majority of the public are in favour.
Energy plans pour forth
Residents living in and around Thorney seem to be plagued by plans to build renewable energy farms in the countryside.
News of the the West Coast Energy venture comes shortly after Peterborough City Council announced it is seeking to create three renewable energy parks on 900 acres of farmland at Newborough, Thorney and Eye.
So far the council has only submitted planning applications to install solar panels but the applications for the wind turbines are expected to follow in the near future.
The proposals for the solar panels have been delayed after an assessment report flagged up the possibility of historic remains under the site.
It means an archaeological dig has to be carried out to find out the extent of any remains but this work has been held up by poor weather.
Council leader Councillor Marco Cereste says the energy parks could generate a valuable source of income for the local authority, which badly needs funds in the face of Government cuts.
He says the wind and solar energy parks could generate in excess of £110 million in net income over 20 years.