A new wave of huge wind turbines will dwarf anything previously seen in Shropshire and Mid Wales, campaigners warned today.
Plans for four 130 metre (426ft) high turbines have been unveiled close to Gnosall, near Newport, while plans are also in the pipeline for a turbine of the same height to be built near Ellesmere.
Across the border in Mid Wales, one of the five proposed wind farms currently subject to a public inquiry – Carnedd Wen, near Llanbrynmair – will feature more than 60 turbines with a blade tip of 137m (449ft) if it gets the go ahead, while many more applications in the pipeline propose turbines over 120m (394ft) tall.
Campaigners said today that they fear the current wave of proposals are bigger than anything seen in the area before and warned the “sheer size and scale” would harm the landscape for good.
Councillor Mike Smith, Stafford Borough Council member for Gnosall and Woodseaves, said: “Those who live near it won’t want it. Personally I think wind farms are better suited to the offshore environment.
“It’s a very rural area but it will affect people because these are the biggest turbines you’ll ever see. These aren’t just little turbines to supply a farm.”
Glyn Davies, Montgomeryshire MP, said the sheer size and scale of development planned for Mid Wales is “completely outrageous”.
He added: “The scale of the Mid Wales connection is just completely outrageous as far as the impact on Mid Wales is concerned. The size is just incredible.”
The planned 130 metre (426ft) turbine at The Newnes, near Ellesmere, has come under criticism from local residents, who launched a leaflet, poster and window sticker campaign.
James Meacock, 43, who lives at Newnes Barns, said if it gets the go ahead it would be the “most visible” aspect of Ellesmere.
He added: “It is three times the height of the turbine already at Tetchill. It will be plonked in the middle of a field, near a road and will cause distractions to motorists on a road that is already dangerous. I don’t think people understand how big it is going to be.”
Visual impact is not the only issue which has caused campaigners to worry, however, with the prospect of turbines “spooking” horses raised earlier this month. County rights of way officers objected to plans for a 50 metre (164ft) high wind turbine at Wigmarsh Poultry Farm at Holly Lodge, West Felton, over concerns over horses.
The officers say the building of the 500kw turbine near West Felton, which would have a tip height of 77 metre(252ft), would make the bridleway unusable.
Matt Stephens, Shropshire Council rights of way officer, said: “The primary danger would be from ‘spooking’ which would be specific to equestrians but as the proposed turbine would be within fall-over distance of the right of way there would also be a potential danger from structural failure and/or collapse that would have the potential to affect all users.”
Military officials objected to a 45 metre (150ft) wind turbine on Long Mountain between Welshpool and Shrewsbury earlier this month, saying it could cause “unacceptable interference” to a radar at RAF Shawbury. This week retired couple George and Rosemary Wesley, of Sarn, near Newtown, said a planned 77 metre (252ft) high turbine proposed for a neighbouring farm would “ruin” their garden.
Meanwhile, residents have just two weeks left to give their opinion on plans to build a 33-mile power line through Shropshire and Mid Wales. See www.national grid.com/midwalesconnection
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