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Safety concern over plans for wind turbines

A new wind farm on Romney Marsh would have an adverse impact on wildlife and compromise air safety warn protestors.

The action group SOMBRE (Save Our Marsh Block Rural Exploitation) are objecting to plans to build four giant wind turbines at Old Romney.

Planners at Shepway Council turned down the appliation for the 378 foot high structures when they met on July 14 but developer Airvolution Energy Ltd has lodged an appeal.

SOMBRE believe the wind turbines will pose a threat to Bewick’s swans, which winter on the Marsh.

Its leader Patricia Rolfe said: “The appeal has been lodged despite clear and obvious local opposition for a wind farm to be constructed on highly graded agricultural land on the idyllic Romney Marsh.

“Shepway councillors say the wind farm would have a significant and unacceptable impact on Bewick’s swan and a negative impact on the integrity of the Dungeness to Pett Level and Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay protected areas.

“Lydd Ashford airport has strongly objected to the scheme on the grounds of air safety and the possible interference with the company’s navigational equipment.

“Also many objectors cite the adverse landscape and visual impact as a strong reason for saying no.

“The principle of Localism applies here. Local Councils, local organisations and local residents are opposed to this type of development on Romney Marsh.

“Those objections are based on valid and objective planning concerns as well as more subjective reasons such as the potential negative impact on quality of life.

People want to Protect the Marsh; people want to promote the Marsh (through Green tourism) and ultimately, people want to see the area prosper.

“Why should one landowner or operator seek to undermine the integrity of the local Landscape in exchange for 30 pieces of silver?”

Mike Bartlett of SOMBRE added: “The developer, Airvolution is evidently pressing ahead with this application against an ever increasing tide of opposition – both locally and nationally.

“Romney Marsh is unique, an environmentally sensitive area that needs protecting from unwanted industrialisation. We want tourism, we do not want turbines.”

People have until Friday August 14 to sen their views on the proposals to the Planning Inspectorate and can email to pcs@pins.gsi.gov.uk or write to The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/14, Eagle Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN.

SOMBRE have also previously raised concerns over the wind farm at Little Cheyne Court, near Camber, on Romney Marsh, after a turbine was damaged in a suspected lightning strike last year.

It caused one of the 44 metre blades to fragment and throw debris from the central core of the blade to the ground.

SOMBRE is calling for off-shore turbines.