Wind farm developers have still not erected an anemometer on land where three turbines could be erected – and a decision on the contentious plans could be made next month.
REG Windpower, the firm seeking to build three wind turbines at Berry Fen – land which lies between the villages of Haddenham and Aldreth – secured planning permission to erect an anemometer mast at the site last July.
The aim of the anemometer is to judge wind speed ahead of any decision being made on the proposals for the turbines themselves.
But the facility still has not been put up and the Stop Berry Wind Farm Campaign group says it is “deeply concerning” – especially because the turbine application is due to go before East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee on April 29.
Steve Cheetham, chairman of the campaign group, said: “Given the importance of the data which would be collected by the anemometer mast for both REG Windpower and the district councillors, who will be making the decision about the planning application, we find it mystifying why at this very late stage before the planning meeting there is no sign of the wind mast being erected.
“What is equally surprising is REG also told the council they needed two years’ worth of wind data to ensure they selected the most appropriate turbines for the site.
“On the day of the planning meeting district councillors will be visiting the site. If the wind anemometer had been visible then the councillors and the local residents would have some idea as to the sheer scale of the turbines if they are sited in Berry Fen, and the major impact they will have on the landscape character and residential amenity.
“We therefore believe that REG Windpower had no intention of erecting the anemometer mast in time for the planning meeting and as a result of this decision none of the promised data from the mast will be available for an informed decision on this crucial planning application. We find it deeply concerning that such a vital planning decision will be taken on this basis.”
More than 600 people have commented, both for and against, on the proposals since they were submitted last year.
Bruce Caldwell, Berry Fen’s project manager, said: “The anemometer mast is on site and awaiting the construction team who will start the erection over the next few weeks.
“It will take approximately two days to fully erect the mast, which will measure the wind speed on site. The delay has been due to bad weather on other projects which has delayed the construction team.
“If Berry Fen were to be consented, there would be a community fund worth over £30,000 each year for community projects and local good causes around the wind farm, which could produce enough clean, green electricity to power approximately 3,900 average homes annually.”
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