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Dorchester: Town council says ‘yes’ to windfarm  

Credit:  By Trevor Bevins | 7th January 2015 | www.viewfrompublishing.co.uk ~~

Town councillors have backed controversial plans for six giant turbines on the edge of the county town.

The 6-3 vote in favour surprised even those who support the scheme.

Both pro and anti groups have each collected over 1,000 signatures for their views in recent weeks.

A final decision will be made by West Dorset’s district planning committee later in the year.

Town councillors claimed their vote would send a clear message that the town was thinking about the future and backed renewable

energy for the sake of generations to come.

Opponents say it will industrialise and ruin a precious landscape with links to Thomas Hardy.

One of the biggest shocks of the evening was the route that large lorries carrying turbine blades will have to take to get to the construction site, off Slyer’s Lane.

Coming from the east they would have to travel the entire length of the bypass, along the Weirs, up The Grove, left into High West and High East Streets and then down London Road before turning left up the Piddle Valley Road.

To make matters worse legislation means that the convoys would have to travel in daylight hours.

“It will cause havoc,” said Cllr Viv Allan who went on to vote against the windfarm.

After the vote in favour, Cllr Molly Rennie called for talks to try and change the delivery route. One member of the public who came to listen to the debate suggested they could be delivered by airship.

The windfarm will comprise of six turbines, each 115 metres tall, the height of St Paul’s Cathedral. The council was told they could clearly be seen from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty around the county town and from places like Poundbury Hillfort, and by properties along the northern edge of the town and Poundbury.

Ian Gosling, from the No Slyer’s Lane group told councillors the turbines would be “a large, adverse, visual intrusion to a landscape which is prized locally, nationally and internationally.”

He said they would clearly be seen from large parts of the town with its high number of Grade 1 listed buildings and from one of Europe’s most important hillforts, Maiden Castle, as well as affecting popular footpaths and a bridleway.

But Irene Statham from the pro-wind group said the visual impact was being over-played and many who signed their petition said they liked the look of turbines, some even finding their movement relaxing.

She said that without them the county would not meet its renewable energy targets.

Another pro-wind advocate, Jeanie Averill, said that to focus the debate on what the turbines looked like was ‘missing the point’.

“We have to look at the function and purpose of what these turbines offer.”

And many town councillors accepted that argument. Tim Harries said that if people had taken the same attitude in the past we would not have built canals or a rail network.

“We all know fossil fuels are running out. If you want to rely in the future on the French or President Putin for your energy then go ahead but I would rather go ahead with this scheme.”

Cllr Andy Canning, who proposed supporting the scheme, said it was wrong to treat the countryside as if we were living in a pre-industrial world.

“You can’t really say they are overbearing on the landscape because they are not, they are thin and narrow and not that visually intrusive.”

Cllr Viv Allan said turbines were a good idea in the right place but argued that just outside the county town was not the right place. She argued a better site would have been at Rampisham, the former World Service transmitter site.

Cllr David Roberts described them as a ‘blot on the landscape’ and not efficient. He said when the wind was not blowing they produced nothing at all and when there was too much wind they had to be switched off.

Cllr Fiona Kent-Ledger said the council was taking a brave decision.

“This will safeguard future generations and will send a message to younger people that we have tried to do something.”

Source:  By Trevor Bevins | 7th January 2015 | www.viewfrompublishing.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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