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Police aim to go green with wind turbine near Portishead headquarters but face opposition

Avon and Somerset Police is set to go ahead and develop a wind turbine near its Portishead headquarters, despite opposition.

The force has plans for a 45-metre turbine to be constructed on nearby land in the hope of reducing its energy bills.

It also wants to reduce carbon emissions from the HQ on Valley Road which it says has the largest carbon footprint across all Avon and Somerset police sites.

The force is considering using the WTN 250kW model manufactured by German firm Wind Technik Nord. It would have a 30-metre tower with 15-metre blades.

It would be capable of producing 250kW of power at the highest wind speeds, and would have a lifetime of 20 years.

The turbine would be placed on land between Portishead Down Field and Valley Road, to the north of the West Wood Nature Reserve. It would be visible from Merlin Park, a public park east of the police headquarters site.

The spot has been chosen to keep the turbine out of reach of any houses which may be affected by the noise of the blades.

Speaking at a public forum at Gordano School, Portishead, Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said the force will soon be applying for planning permission from North Somerset Council for the turbine. Ms Mountstevens heard complaints from residents at the meeting that the turbine would spoil the view of the greenbelt from Merlin Park.

She said: “Renewable energy is an important issue for us all to consider to protect our environment and resources today and for future generations.

“The police service has to play its part and I have agreed with the constabulary that they aim to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 per cent over the next five years.

“They intend this summer to apply for planning permission to install a wind turbine at their headquarters. The turbine would pay for itself within seven years and help in future years to keep carbon emissions down and our electricity bills low.”

North Somerset councillor for Portishead West David Jolley, who was at the meeting, pointed out the council has a priority to maintain the openness of the green belt.

He said: “While accepting and supporting any actions to reduce all carbon footprints, rather than pay to apply for permission on a site clearly in green belt, the commissioner could consider putting it elsewhere.

“I did suggest Avonmouth, which already plays host to a number of existing wind turbines and the kilowatt hours generated could be fed directly into the National Grid or other local businesses and so offset their Portishead HQ footprint count.”

Police sustainability manager Hannah Watts said: “The constabulary is committed to reducing the amount of energy we use in our buildings and making use of renewable energy sources where we can.

“This will not only contribute to a reduction in our carbon emissions but makes absolute financial sense for us too as our budgets come under continued pressure.

“An increase in the use of renewable energy we generate ourselves will mean our costs and reliance on electricity from the grid will be lower.

“The location and size of the turbine is the best of several options considered in terms of distance from buildings, impact on local residents and capturing the wind.”