Campaigners against a scheme to build a wind farm as tall as the London Eye have flown a helium filled airship at its proposed height – in a bid to shock planners into rejecting the application.
South Kesteven District Councillors looked set to reject a planning application from German developers RWE Innogy to put up five wind turbines at Temple Hill, near Grantham, at a meeting last night.
If approved, the turbines would reach 126.5m – more than 40m taller than Lincoln Cathedral – and would be visible for more than 20 miles.
Residents’ community group reVOLT has been campaigning against the application for the last three years.
In a last-minute bid to get its point across to planners, the group raised money to hire the helium filled airship, and have it flown at the proposed turbines’ height.
ReVOLT spokesman Paul Miley said: “Local people have banded together to raise money to hire a helium filled blimp to fly at turbine height to indicate to councillors just how massive and inappropriate these structures would be for this area – something the developers, perhaps, should have done.
“At the correct height, the blimp dwarfs the nearby homes in Grange Lane near Brandon. Remember, the plan is for five of the turbines, all rotating with a wingspan greater than a jumbo jet.
“We have tried to put it into perspective, but the villagers’ blimp really underlines the seriousness of the impact on the heritage, residential and visual amenity of the area.”
Vikki Hoole, who lives near the proposed site, said: “We have tried to get straight answers from the developer RWE Innogy about our very site-specific concerns, but just get palmed off with generic arguments – no one has been able to demonstrate why this area is appropriate for a large scale wind farm.
“Hopefully councillors will see that the local community is united and very strongly opposed.”
Mr Miley stressed that the area was already doing its bit for renewable energy with one solar farm in place and planning approval granted for a second one.
He added that the area was also a collection hub for straw for the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant.
Robin Basten, RWE’s regional development manager for onshore wind in England, said: “We are disappointed with the planning officer’s recommendation, but hope that the planning committee will consider the undeniable benefits the wind farm will bring to Lincolnshire, both environmentally and financially.
“The proposed Temple Hill Wind Farm is sited in a carefully chosen location, which we believe meets all the criteria for producing clean, renewable energy.
“Our investigations have revealed the site to be a suitable location with good wind speeds, good access and grid connection.
“If granted planning consent, the wind farm could produce enough green energy to meet the average needs of up to 7,000 homes each year and inject an inward investment of approximately £4.76m into Lincolnshire creating real potential job and supply chain opportunities.”
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