Seven controversial wind turbines proposed for a new Dengie wind farm can be made even larger after getting the green light from Maldon District Council.
The authority approved plans to increase the length of the turbine blades at Turncole Wind Farm in Southminster, increasing their minimum output from 12.6 to 17.5 megawatts.
It was also agreed at the council planning meeting on Tuesday last week that turbine components should be delivered via the River Crouch, easing congestion on the local road network.
The district council’s deputy leader Miriam Lewis claimed the decision was “a victory for common sense”, but there was strong opposition from some parts of the council chamber.
Cllr Adrian Fluker, who represents the Southminster ward, said: “I did not support the lowering of the turbine hubs to allow for larger blades to be used, as the total area of sweep of the eight turbines would equal the size of a football pitch.
“That area, combined with the visual impact of the Middlewick generating site was, in my mind, too much for the residents of Southminster to suffer.”
The development of the site as a wind farm was agreed at appeal in March 2014, when Brentwood MP Eric Pickles said the site “makes a significant contribution to meeting national targets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.
At the meeting, Ian Sisterson from the River Not Road campaign, said the decision to allow marine delivery of parts would eliminate more than 60 heavy goods vehicle movements around Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch.
Cllr Fluker continued: “I was, however, pleased to hear that if the application was approved an extra £2million would be provided for the local community during the life of the wind farm.
“Without any legal assurances or binding planning conditions in place to deliver it though, I suspect this was just more ‘spin’ from an industry that appears to be hell-bent on destroying the beautiful countryside and big skies around Southminster and Burnham.”
The changes, put forward by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Ltd, who are running the project, were passed by seven votes to five, with three abstentions, in the meeting chaired by Cllr Frank Delderfield.
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