MPs call meeting on BT wind turbine bid

SUFFOLK MPs Tim Yeo and Matthew Hancock have called a public meeting to discuss BT’s proposal to build a set of wind turbines close to one of the county’s most picturesque towns.

The meeting coincides with BT’s announcement that a meteorological mast (met mast) will be installed on land near Clare in the next few weeks to measure wind speeds, as the telecommunications giant takes its next step towards creating a six-turbine facility.

The company said the plans were part of its goal to generate a quarter of its own energy needs from wind power by 2016, in its Wind for Change programme.

Both Mr Yeo and Mr Hancock, whose constituencies border the proposed site, announced their joint opposition to the scheme.

In a joint statement, they said: “We believe that the visual and other impacts of the proposed turbines are completely unacceptable in this attractive rural corner of Suffolk. We are not opposed to wind power in principle, but turbines that can be seen from miles around should only be erected where they are acceptable to the communities affected.”

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Mr Yeo and Mr Hancock, MPs for South Suffolk and West Suffolk respectively, are appealing to the public to attend a meeting in Hundon Village Hall, on September 10 at 8pm, to hear their views.

Tim Martin, head of partnership development, confirmed that land south of Chilton Street and to the north of the A1092, between Stoke by Clare and Clare, had been identified as a potential wind power location.

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He said they were pleased with the local feedback received during a recent exhibition in Clare, which attracted more than 250 people.

“We appreciate the interest and willingness of the local community and organisations to get involved during this pre-application stage – we have had many positive discussions,” he said.

“We are at the early stage of developing a site layout and will now undertake more detailed environmental impact studies.

“As a direct response to community feedback, we will be taking further photography around the site to show how the development would appear from more locations.”

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council confirmed temporary permission had been granted to BT for three years to construct a 60metre test mast on the site.

“A met mast will be installed on site in the coming weeks to allow BT to measure wind speeds and direction in more detail,” Mr Martin said.

Mark Ereira, deputy leader of the Green group on Suffolk County Council, urged the community in Clare against making knee-jerk reactions to BT’s proposal.

He said Suffolk was producing the lowest level of wind energy in the region and people should take a long, hard, rational look at the issue.

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