A zoo boss is heading for a new controversy over wind turbines after plans were unveiled to put up two more 150ft devices at his premises near Huntingdon.
Andrew Swales, of Hamerton Zoo Park, has offered to set up a £3,000 a year pot to benefit the local community if the scheme gets the go-ahead.
But residents were up in arms last year when he applied to replace his existing two turbines with two more which were double the size of the originals.
They had reluctantly accepted the original turbines but objected to the bigger ones because they were worried about the impact on the rural community.
Residents were also concerned that more turbines could be in the pipeline.
Huntingdonshire District Council’s Development Management Panel gave the go-ahead for the 150ft turbines after coming close to rejecting the scheme at an earlier hearing.
Now council planners are to consider Mr Swales’ bid to build the two additional 50kW turbines and associated equipment.
Marie Stacey, of Hallmark Power Ltd, which is acting for Mr Swales, said: “They are exactly the same as the two Endurance turbines already installed. It is basically to maximise the potential of the site.”
She said the principle of turbines on the site had already been established and that two more would be acceptable in the context of the area’s landscape.
Miss Stacey said: “Mr Swales has offered a community benefit in terms of a trust fund of £3,000 of community payments a year for the 20-25 year life of the project.
“It is not something that has to be done there, but it is something which has been offered as a benefit from Andrew.”
She said the mechanism for how the benefits would be distributed still had to be decided.
The zoo, which is involved in major conservation schemes, became the first in Europe to be self-sufficient in energy after installing the larger turbines.
Mr Swales said at the time that the original turbines had been more successful than expected and that the taller ones would enable them to generate the power they needed and put some back into the National Grid.
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