Row brews over potential wind turbine influx in Forest of Dean
Credit: Gloucester Citizen | June 23, 2015 | www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk ~~
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Plans to build wind turbines in the Forest of Dean should not be approved “at any cost”, the district’s Green Party has said.
Chairman Sid Phelps said large-scale renewable energy schemes should benefit neighbours and not multi-million pound companies from overseas.
He said party members support the principle of wind turbines as a campaign to block an influx of plans near the banks of the River Severn continues.
Mr Phelps said: “We are for them, but not at any cost. We need to decarbonise our economy massively and we need renewable energy in a big way. But there seems to be quite a vociferous group that don’t want them for reasons they will spoil a view or they will make too much noise.
“The Green Party supports renewables but would prefer the community energy model where communities take a share of the profits.”
The Say No to Severn Turbines group has launched a bid to thwart applications on the banks of the Severn Estuary, in particular schemes at Alvington and Aylburton, North Lydney, Woolaston and Tidenham. Plans for the turbine in Alvington has been described as an “industrial-style machine” at 283ft tall which it claims is 86ft higher than St Mary’s Church, Lydney.
A 285ft turbine has been built at Great Dunkilns Farm, in St Briavels, and the campaign is opposing potential plans for a 249ft turbine at Severndale Farm, Tidenham, at Nurshill Farm, North Lydney.
Stroud District Council has also approved plans for a 397ft turbine at Sharpness Docks – which will be visible from the other side of the river.
Alvington Parish Council voted unanimously against turbine plans for the village.
But applicant Resilient Energy, which won its appeal after plans for Alvington Court were refused, said the single turbine will be built in September. The applicant also said the community will benefit from some of the surplus revenue.
Project director Andrew Clarke said: “Statistics show the Forest of Dean district is in the highest tenth for fuel poverty in the country, and we want to do something about this. We can use the surplus money from wind generation to supply households affected by fuel poverty with roof-mounted solar panels free of charge, with all the revenue from feed-in tariffs given to these householders.”
The primary school and clubs in St Briavel’s have already benefited from surplus cash made by the village’s own wind turbine.
Ian Barkley, headteacher at St Briavel’s Primary School, said: “We do rather well with contributions from the ‘community benefit’ aspect of the wind turbine. Donations to the school come in their thousands rather than hundreds which have been significant for a school of this size.”
Councillor Gethyn Davies (C, Tidenham) said members of the planning committee held a ‘site visit’ to land earmarked for the turbine in Tidenham yesterday.
He said: “We don’t take any notice of campaigns and we look at anything on their merits and we are not allowed to pass comment.”
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