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Protestors gather as wind farm inquiry opens

Around 50 opponents of a planned wind farm staged a protest outside Wisbech Boat House this morning (Tuesday) at the start of a inquiry to the proposals.

The protestors, part of Fenrats (Fenland Residents Against Turbines), are fighting plans to build six, 126 metre high turbines on Tydd St Giles Fen.

Both Fenland and South Holland District Councils rejected the proposals by Wind Ventures, but the developers have taken their application to appeal.

The appeal inquiry, which starts today (Tuesday) is expected to last for nine days and there will be a site visit on May 7.

Fenrats have the services of a barrister and experts to represent the interests of residents at a cost of £30,000.

Funding for this expense has been raised, paid or pledged by Fenrats members.

Among opponents outside the Boat House was fourth generation farmer John Goult of King Edward Farm in Harold Bridge. His home will be just over 680 metres away from the nearest turbine and he will be able to see all six from top to bottom.

“I’m looking to retire in December and if this application goes through then I can look forward to sitting on my lawn and watching the turbines go round as there will be nothing between my property and the turbines,” said Mr Goult.

Steve Tierney, county councillor for the area, has been fighting the wind farm for the past four years.

He said: “I have been speaking to residents in Foul Anchor, who are now living in the shadow of the Grange Farm wind turbines. Before they were built they were not opposed to turbines, they thought they were OK. But now they realise what it is like and they wish they had taken more action to oppose them. They are suffering but they just didn’t realise how badly they would be affected.”

Fenrats member John Lock, who has a full-blown stewardship subsidised by Defra to encourage wildlife (birds in particular), is concerned about how the turbines will affect the birds especially Barn Owls and he will raise his fears when he speaks at the inquiry next week.

Other speakers opposing the plans include local parish councillor Belinda Francis, resident Geoff Scaplehorn and both local MPs, Steve Barclay and John Hayes, who will be speaking at various times throughout the inquiry.