Battle lines have been drawn in the fight to stop what will be Cornwall’s largest wind farm being built in the north of the county.
Good Energy, which owns Delabole wind farm, has submitted plans to Cornwall Council for a £30million 11-turbine development over five parishes – Week St Mary, Jacobstow, Warbstow, North Petherwin and Whitstone.
Known as the Big Field wind farm, its turbines will stand 125 metres (420 feet) high and will generate power to 13,500 homes.
However, the plans have been met with strong opposition and a public meeting has been organised by CARE (Communities Against Rural Exploitation) tomorrow.
Richard Sowerby, chairman of CARE, says: “Good Energy is spouting off about the value of their community benefits but in reality they are a complete hood-wink.
“We just hope Cornwall Councillors won’t be taken in by it.”
Campaigners point out that Good Energy is highlighting the value to the local community of the local 20 per cent tariff discount.
“They omit to mention that this is 20 per cent off an expensive tariff – their own”, says local resident Stuart Mealing.
“Any savings are derisory compared to the damage done to this community.
“Dual fuel users in Week St Mary for example, will actually pay more for their energy under the Good Energy local discount tariff than the best deals on comparison web sites.”
In their publicity Good Energy claimed a £2 million project lifetime value for the local energy tariff but local people complained successfully to the Advertising Standards Authority that this could not be substantiated.
The communities say that Good Energy has run rough-shod over local opinion.
“Nothing significant has changed following any discussions,” said Week St Mary resident Nina Kamm.
“There is widespread doubt that the community will see anything meaningful whatsoever if these monster turbines are built.
“Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, has been challenged to agree a legally binding agreement confirming community benefits with the parish councils in advance of planning submission but no response has been received.”
Peter Finneran, who lives near Canworthy Water added: “The view is also widely held that Good Energy will not commit to meaningful community benefits because they will not develop this site themselves but sell it to another developer if planning permission is granted.
“They have consistently refused to deny this is their future intention.”
In response, Ms Davenport said: “We are absolutely committed to making sure that the local community can benefit from The Big Field Wind Farm.
“We have developed a range of proposed benefits and have consulted the local community, including the parish councils. These benefits are wide-ranging and designed to reach as many people as possible.
“We are proud of our proposals for The Big Field Wind Farm and have no intention to sell it should we get the go ahead.”
She says the local dual-fuel and electricity-only tariffs proposed by Good Energy for households within 5km of the site are the cheapest on the market.
Good Energy, she adds, intends to complete a legally binding agreement securing the proposed community benefits before any planning permission is granted. This is stated in the planning application.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding