More than 170 people packed into Winterborne Whitechurch village hall on Monday to hear the arguments against a four turbine wind farm which has been proposed for land east of the village.
The meeting was called by local resident Julien Turner who for the last ten years has campaigned against wind farms all over the country after first being involved in a successful campaign against a 32 turbine scheme at Winterborne Kingston and Zelston.
As founder of DART (Dorset Against Rural Turbines), he has now established DART Winterborne Whitechurch in opposition to the proposal by REG Windpower Ltd, who submitted a scoping document to North Dorset District Council in January for the four turbine scheme at Blandford Hill off the A354, and have held consultation meetings in the village.
After running through the perceived impacts of the proposal involving 130metre high turbines, including impact on property values, the landscape, the amenity, heritage and archaeology and health risks of noise and shadow flicker, he screened a video film recording the impact of turbines installed in Cumbria, and highlighted the unreliable nature of wind energy.
He was joined by Richard Slocock, chairman of the action group TAIT campaigning against proposals for a wind farm near Tolpuddle, and by Rupert Hardy, North Dorset representative of the Campaign to Protect Rural England from Winterborne Tomson who has led the campaign against one of the biggest solar farms in the country at Mapperton which is now the subject of a judicial review following its approval by East Dorset District Council.
“We will be providing DART-WW with as much support as possible in terms of funds, publicity and expertise,” he said.
Mr Turner invited questions from the audience, saying he recognised some would be emotional because it was an emotional issue, and some on planning issues.
He also acknowledged the presence at the meeting of a representative of the company and of the landowners, the Torys at East Farm Winterborne Whitechurch, but neither commented or were available for comment after the meeting.
Early responses came from speakers who asked whether the noise from wind turbines 250 metres away was comparable with that from a busy main road outside a home, and said there were people who wanted to hear about the positives, including the £30,000 a year offered to the community should the proposal go ahead.
Mr Turner described the offer as essentially a “form of bribe”, and another member of the public said it was a pittance compared to the reduction in property values, which have been estimated in a study by the London School of Economics as an average of 11 per cent for homes within 1.2 miles of a giant turbine.
Residents were invited to join the 200 who have already subscribed to the DART-WW newsletter, and to contribute to the campaign’s fighting fund, which Mr Turner said had a £10,000 target which would rise considerably if the application went to appeal.
They were also urged to write giving their views to landowners, but not at this stage to the district council, since no application has yet been submitted.
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