An air blimp has been launched 400ft (122m) above the proposed site of a massive wind farm to mark the re-start of an appeal into the controversial scheme.
Campaigners against the plans on the Somerset Levels released the airborne object to illustrate the height of one of the four “monstrosities”.
The ‘No’ blimp was launched on Saturday at Emerald Pool Fisheries near Bridgwater as the second half of a public inquiry begins into the original decision to reject the scheme.
Julie Trott, of the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group, said: “This is our last chance to stop these monstrosities despoiling our landscape and residential amenity we currently enjoy.”
She added: “In flying the blimp we emphasised the towering height these industrial-sized wind turbines will be – dominating homes in the close proximity and the local landscape for miles around due to the flat character of the Somerset Levels.”
The application by energy supplier Ecotricity for four turbines on land close to the M5 known as Black Ditch in West Huntspill was rejected by Sedgemoor District Council’s planning committee in April 2012.
The four turbines would produce 2.3MW each, collecting enough power from the wind for 6,769 homes.
A spokesman for Ecotricity, who built Somerset’s first wind turbine in 2008, said it was still confident the site is an appropriate place for the wind farm.
He added: “The council’s own planning officer recommended the plans for approval and, while the application was rejected by the planning committee, some of the council’s principal reasons for opposing the scheme have either been addressed through mitigation measures or are no longer valid.
“We are therefore optimistic that the final session of the public inquiry will find that, after several years of detailed environmental assessments, we have identified a highly appropriate location for renewable energy.”
The action group have also formally entered the appeal process as an independent party in order to raise issues including the potential impact on wildlife and birds.
The RSPB advises in general terms: “The available evidence suggests that wind farms can harm birds in three possible ways – disturbance, habitat loss or damage (both direct or indirect), and collision. Poorly sited wind farms have caused some major bird casualties.”
The blimp was set to be launched for a total of eight days around the start of the public inquiry on May 7.
Ms Trott added: “Siting them in the middle of six villages on the Somerset levels is not the place to have them. So if we are called nimbys for that, then fine.”
More than 500 residents protested against the plan when they were first proposed.
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