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Campaign fighting second wind farm application gathers pace  

Credit:  By Gazette reporter | 19th August 2013 | www.basingstokegazette.co.uk ~~

Campaigners are building a team to fight a second wind farm planned on the Hampshire Downs.

More than 250 residents attended meetings across the county last week to object to proposals for six 130-metre turbines at Woodmancott Down, near Popham.

Oxfordshire-based firm TCI Renewables has applied for permission from Basing-stoke and Deane Borough Council to construct the wind farm.

The company says the farm will provide electricity to power 8,000 homes annually and reduce carbon emissions by 14,000 per year.

More than 250 objections have been registered so far and protestors have launched a Save Our Scenic (SOS) Hampshire Downs campaign to fight the plans.

Around 60 people turned out at a meeting in Dummer last Wednesday to hear an SOS presentation featuring guest speaker Douglas Paterson, from Keep Hampshire Green, who is leading a campaign against another proposed wind farm at Bullington Cross.

Mr Paterson challenged TCI’s figures and claimed wind was an expensive and inefficient form of energy that would damage the landscape.

He said: “It’s a high cost for a low-quality supply of energy which is unpredictable and intermittent and drives up costs elsewhere.

“There are more exciting alternatives and plenty of them out there, but all the money that should be going into them is being sapped up by wind because it’s very quick and easy to throw up these turbines.”

SOS spokesman Jonathan Moseley added the group is employing six experts to provide evidence to fight the plans.

He said: “It’s really important to fight science with science. TCI’s application is 1,080 pages. If people really feel strongly and would like to support us, we would appreciate anything you can give us.”

Residents backed the group and said the turbines would cause a variety of problems, including for nearby Popham Airfield, which could be in between the Woodmancott and Bullington turbines.

Jonathan Turnball, of Burkham, who regularly flies into Popham, said: “Because of the turbines, anything flying low would have to double its height or go over to one side.

“That would reduce the amount of space between the Southampton and Odiham air zones. Mixed with the Chinook helicopters, it makes it more risky.”

Lyn Hardy, who has lived in Dummer for 40 years and is a former parish clerk, said TCI should focus on keeping energy costs low rather than investing in community projects.

She said: “What sort of community projects are they looking at? I’m paying for this with my taxes so the profits should go back into providing cheaper electricity for everyone rather than just a community fund.”

County councillor Anna McNair Scott said she would object to the plan and encouraged others to do so.

She said: “I feel extremely strongly about this. I agree it is an inefficient way of making electricity a lot more expensive for everybody.”

More than 100 people turned out at a meeting at Preston Candover, with 80-plus attending another event in East Stratton the following evening.

Source:  By Gazette reporter | 19th August 2013 | www.basingstokegazette.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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