Friday, 7.45am: Angry villagers jeered and booed as a decision to build a wind farm in Thorney was given the green light at a stormy Peterborough City Council meeting on Tuesday night (4 February).
Members of the council’s Planning Committee voted in favour of plans for four 100 metre high turbines at French Farm in French Drove near Thorney, by seven votes to two at the town hall.
The packed hearing saw several outbursts and jeers from the public gallery and two people, villager Angelo Convertino and councillor Dave Sanders stormed out – accusing the committee of “not listening to the public.”
The meeting heard that the plans had received 390 objections during a public consultation but 194 people had supported it.
Each turbine will be 100 metres in height, have 40 metre long blades and produce up to two mega watts of electricity. Applicants REG Energy, who already had planning permission for two turbines on the site, say the whole development will produce enough power for 6,000 homes.
But Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, who spoke at the meeting said the plans contravened government policies and showed “no respect for the heritage of the Fens”.
Mr Jackson said: “This will have a big impact on local life and infrastructure. Property prices will go down and heritage assets like Thorney Abbey will be badly affected.
“You also have to consider that there is currently the potential for over 40 wind turbines to be built in the area. The government has sought to address such schemes, so I believe this should be stopped.”
John Bartlett, chair of Thorney Parish Council, said: “The village could become surrounded by wind turbines and we are very alarmed by this.”
But local green campaigners Dr Dorothy Ball and Richard Olive, from the Peter borough Friends of the Earth, backed the plans.
Dr Ball said: “The Fens are the perfect landscape for turbines – flat and windy. Councils should make the most of this free resource.”
Mr Olive said the turbines would help solve problems created by climate change.
The committee took just under an hour to vote in favour of the plans. Only councillors David Harrington and Stephen Lane voted against.
The decision was met with further jeers and cries of “shame” from the public.
Thorney Landscape Protection Group, opposed to the plans, held a public meeting last night (6 February) at the Bedford Hall, Thorney with Stewart Jackson MP due to attend.
Survey claims support for turbines
The company behind the Thorney wind farm bid say there is significant support for wind farms in Peterborough.
REG Windpower say that a recent telephone survey of 500 people in the city showed that around three quarters backed wind energy projects.
According to the survey, 73 per cent of people answered that they were in favour of wind turbines and 19 per cent said they were against it.
REG also said that 68 per cent of people polled were in favour of the Thorney development. Owen Saward, development manager at REG Windpower, said “We’ve been talking to Eye and Thorney residents since 2011 about the proposals and certainly people have strong feelings about where energy should come from.
“However, it’s not just city residents that support wind energy – 62 per cent of respondents with PE6 postcodes said they also either supported or had no strong feelings either way.”
But speaking during the meeting, Cllr Dave Sanders said: “People feel the turbines will be dominating, over-baring and out of scale. They will tower over Thorney Abbey and produce a modest economic benefit.”
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