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Wind turbine bids put villagers on the march

Campaigners against wind turbine plans are organising a protest walk on Saturday in defence of an area of natural beauty.

They are opposed to two separate applications for masts on farmland near the village of Burton Overy.

One is a revised scheme by green energy company Prowind UK for a 77m (353ft) turbine on Manor Farm.

The other application is for a 74m (243ft) mast on Grange Farm sought by the farmer David Holman.

Burton Overy Parish Council, which opposed the previous application by Prowind UK, is fighting both applications.

Chairman of the parish council Fran Brown said: “A renewed application has been made to Harborough District Council for one to be sited where it was rejected last year between Carlton Curlieu and Burton Overy.

“It is right in an area of beautiful unspoilt countryside forming part of the area known as High Leicestershire.

“The Prowind UK application is slightly lower than the previous application refused in 2012.

“But at 77m, it is still massive and still has the potential to impact on the environment in a totally oppressive manner

“We are trying to galvanise public interest because a landowner, who owns land just outside Burton Overy near the A6, has also made an application for a turbine of 74m on his land. He is offering the opportunity to buy into the turbine through share options and a community fund for local projects.”

The protest walk is being held on Saturday at 9.30am, starting from Burton Overy, and will be attended by Sir Edward Garnier MP and county councillor Kevin Feltham.

A public meeting has also been arranged for Tuesday in Burton Overy village hall. The meeting is open to residents from other affected villages, including Kibworth, Carlton Curlieu and Great Glen.

A spokesman for Prowind UK, which has reduced the height of the mast from 335ft, still believes the land “is a suitable site and that the country needs to find sources of renewable energy”.

Supporting his scheme, Mr Holman said: “As a farmer I am only too aware of our changing climate.

“As a committed environmentalist, I am a firm believer that those who are in a position to make a difference with regard to climate change must make every effort to do so.”

He said the turbine would provide enough electricity to power 409 homes a year.

He said: “This would cover the annual needs of all the properties within the villages of Burton Overy (129 houses) and Carlton Curlieu (fewer than 20 houses) along with a part of Great Glen (1,354 houses).”

He is committed to sharing the profits from the scheme with neighbouring residents.

He said: “I therefore initially propose a contribution of £25,000 a year.”

He said he hoped that in the future more money would be made available to benefit projects in the community through charitable organisation the Turbine Trust, under a legally binding agreement.

He is also considering offering up to a 50 per cent share in the scheme to residents.