Call for rethink on wind farms

By David GreenVILLAGERS opposing plans for a £20million wind farm in a remote area of East Anglia have welcomed a call from a countryside protection group for a scaling down of national targets for the installation of turbines.

By David Green

VILLAGERS opposing plans for a £20million wind farm in a remote area of East Anglia have welcomed a call from a countryside protection group for a scaling down of national targets for the installation of turbines.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) claims in a report published today the total area that might be covered by wind farms in the UK equated to more than half the size of East Anglia.

It called on the Government to produce other strategies to help meet the target for a reduction of global warming gas emissions and to ensure wind farms avoided “sensitive” landscapes.


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Jill Hatcher, CPRE's senior natural resources campaigner, said: “Truly sustainable solutions should mean the public don't have to choose between protecting the landscape they cherish and saving the planet on which they depend.

“We need to get the right renewables in the right places and this should depend on the ability of the local environment to absorb such development.

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“Requirements for renewables development should not be dictated and doled out simply on the basis of predicted demand for energy.”

The CPRE report comes as wind power developers increase their interest in East Anglia, both on-shore and off-shore.

Proposals are currently being explored to install wind turbines at St James South Elmham, near Halesworth, and in nearby Flixton.

Developers have already started work on a wind farm on Scroby Sands, in the North Sea off Great Yarmouth, and off Clacton.

CPRE called for increased measures to conserve energy and greater investment in other renewable energies, including solar, tidal and wave energy.

The report was welcomed by Jane Bastow of Villagers Against Inappropriate Turbine Siting, the group set up to oppose plans for a £20m 10-turbine wind farm at St James South Elmham.

“Building wind turbines is not the most efficient way of doing things. The Government is running bull-headed into this without thinking,” she said.

But Bill Richmond, a director of Ipswich-based Saxon Windpower, the company behind the plan for St James South Elmham, said while wind power was not the complete answer to global warming, it was part of the answer.

“If we are not going to produce power by burning fossil fuels we have got to make some choices and wind power is one of the ways of providing clean energy,” he added.

But Mr Richmond said in a county such as Suffolk, the areas feasible for wind farms were quite small because of the need to avoid protected landscape areas and the radar zones of military bases.

“All the wind power firms are ending up looking in the same areas,” he added.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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