As it is called Bullington Cross Wind Farm most would imagine the proposed location is next to the major road junction east of Andover The reality is rather different.
A look at the map shows the site is surrounded on two sides by the A34 and A303. But the 14 turbines would stretch across more than 1,000 acres of open arable land and semi-ancient woodland, peppered with Bronze Age burial mounds.
The site straddles three different planning authorities – Winchester, Basingstoke and Test Valley Borough Council.
At 443ft (126 metres), the turbines will be taller than the 404ft high spire of Salisbury Cathedral.
“It’s a terrible prospect for this beautiful stretch of classic, rolling, Hampshire downland,”
said dairy farmer Douglas Paterson, who is leading the Keep Hampshire Green campaign against the development.
Mr Paterson believes the giant structures will spoil the countryside at enormous financial cost while bringing little environmental benefit.
The total wind farm footprint will be about 10 hectares (24.7 acres).
It’s a sunny afternoon and he is showing me where EDF Energy Renewables wants permission to site the turbines – reduced from 17 – after signing a deal with his neighbouring farmer, Andrew Jannoway, of Upper Norton Farm.
We stand on top of a hill, looking down over a patchwork of green fields, hedgerows and woods – there’s not a road, electricity pylon or even telephone pole in sight.
Mr Patterson, who refused turbines on his farm near Sutton Scotney, said: “We urgently need clean energy for the future and renewables will undoubtedly play a part.
However, we believe that in this case electricity output and carbon savings would be tiny compared to the negative impact of the scheme.
“To provide more than a trickle of energy wind speeds need to be more than 14mph.
There were only six days like that last month. This is a low wind speed area.
“All this windfarm will do is allow the developer to harvest millions of pounds in subsidies and enrich the landowner.”
Large “No to EDF Bullington Wind Farm” placards have appeared on verges in Wonston, South Wonston and Micheldever.
However, there have been accusations of a dirty tricks campaign after about 75 of the 100 posters disappeared.
Micheldever Station is the closest village at more than a mile from the nearest turbine.
The closest home is just half a mile away.
It’s not just the sight of a wind farm on their doorstep that concerns locals. It’s the size of development, noise, possible threat to wildlife and impact on property prices.
Objectors are up against the might of French-owned EDFand Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinAcc), enthusiastic advocates of wind energy. The two bodies have joined together to form Hampshire Energy Group (HEG) to drum up support.
WinAcc is trying to negotiate ten per cent community ownership of the proposed wind farm with profits ploughed back into local renewable energy projects.
In this way the locals could reap rewards instead of just the landowner and energy company.
Christine Holloway, director of WinAcc, said they considered each individual scheme on its merits.
“Having looked at the planning application submitted by EDF and in particular at its environmental assessment, we have not seen anything that is a cause for concern and are, therefore, encouraging people to support it,” she said.
EDF says Bullington Cross is sufficiently windy for it to be technically and commercially viable. It insists any noise will be drowned out by background traffic noise from the A34 and A303 It says the wind farm will power 13,000 homes or eight per cent of domestic electricity use in Winchester, Test Valley and Basingstoke council areas while cutting carbon emissions.
And it will make a significant contribution to meeting Government targets for renewables to produce 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity by 2020.
At present Hampshire imports most of its electricity.
The wind farm would also help make the county more self-sufficient.
Do the clean energy benefits outweigh impact on the rural landscape and local community?
Councillors on Winchester, Basingstoke and Test Valley councils must decide by the end of the year.
We have previously contacted Mr Jannoway but he has signed a confidentiality agreement with EDF and can’t comment.
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