A wealthy landowner has admitted he stands to make £80,000 a year by installing a 45 metre wind turbine on his farm, which villagers say will destroy the area.
Harry Standley has angered his neighbours, among them a former BBC royal correspondent, with his plan but says he makes “no apologies” for being a businessman.
The 70-year-old millionaire has already put up two smaller turbines on his 270-acre farm in the picturesque village of Laxfield, Suffolk.
Local residents have balked at his plan to erect a far bigger, £500,000 turbine, however.
Mr Standley, who has a yacht brokerage business and spends part of every year on his own yacht, insisted he was a strong believer in renewable energy.
He said: “It’s my land and I am simply reacting to the Government’s renewable energy scheme. If people don’t then there will be a huge energy gap.
“My gross return will be £80,000 a year but I will have to cover interest on any money I borrow, pay for on-going maintenance, insurance and things like that and it will take up to 10 years to pay for the turbine.
“There are around 1,000 people living in the village but only a dozen or so felt strongly enough about my plan to turn up at the special meeting called by the parish council to discuss it.
“I have been publicly vilified over my plan and there is a definite ‘nimby’ factor at work.
“I am a businessman and I make no apologies for that but the country needs wealth to pay for projects such as wind energy.”
The new turbine would be “totally compliant” with all the necessary regulations and would have no effect on the hedges, ditches or environment, he added.
But Michael Cole, who was a spokesman for Harrods and its owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, after leaving the BBC, said wind power was a “racket,” and predicted people would look back in years to come and say “we were had”.
He said: “They will say it was mad to put our faith into giant wind turbines that wrecked the countryside, ruined villages and spoilt the quality of life for many people.
“This thing will be as high as the church tower and it has got nothing at all to do with green energy, reducing emissions or saving the planet – it is just about money.
“And if successful, who is to say that Mr Standley or other landowners won’t apply to put up even more large commercial turbines?
“Mr Standley will make money from selling his expensive power and we will all indirectly contribute towards his income by paying green charges on our electricity bills.
“We have already got one large and controversial wind turbine in the village, a second plan has gone to appeal and now this.
“It means the place will be a less attractive place to live.”
Tony Oakes, parish council chairman, said a special meeting had been held about the turbine plan because of the strength of feeling it generated.
“Every member of the public spoke against the plan except Mr Standley himself, who said it would make little more impact that the two turbines he already had,” he said.
“Our task was to consider the points before making a recommendation to the district council and we decided six vote to one against the application.”
Mr Standley’s application is expected to go before the planning committee of Mid Suffolk District Council before the end of the year.