Plan could be lodged soon for wind farm

By David GreenTHE developers behind a controversial proposal for a wind farm may soon submit a planning application because other companies are also interested in the same area.

By David Green

THE developers behind a controversial proposal for a wind farm may soon submit a planning application because other companies are also interested in the same area.

The announcement came after 14 people from the "Saints" area near Halesworth made the journey to Out Newton, near Hull, to see a wind farm comprising seven 80-metre high turbines in operation.

It was organised by Ipswich-based Saxon Windpower, which wants to install up to 10 100-metre high turbines on arable land in St James South Elmham.


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The proposal has led to fears of noise disturbance and landscape damage, and to the formation of a protest group, Villagers Against Inappropriate Turbine Siting (VAITS).

Saxon Windpower hired a 45-seat coach for the journey to Out Newton on Saturday. Twenty-four people had expressed an interest in making the trip, but only 14 people turned up by the time the coach departed.

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Bill Richmond, for Saxon Windpower, said the trip had been helpful in allowing the residents to separate myth from reality.

"I think there was a real cross-section of opinion as we set off, but most people came to accept that the turbines are not noisy and not unsightly," he added.

A local councillor from Easington, the nearest village to the operating wind farm, had talked to the Suffolk people on the trip.

"She had led the local protest campaign there, but had become a supporter of wind power after the turbines began operation because none of the fears had been realised," said Mr Richmond.

He added Saxon Windpower would be spending a couple of weeks assessing the results of the four consultation meetings held in the "Saints" area and deciding whether to go ahead with the wind farm plan.

"We may decide to move one or two of the turbines or reduce the number proposed. We are aware of other wind power developers showing interest in the same area, so if we do decide to go ahead, a planning application is likely to be submitted before the end of the year," said Mr Richmond.

Cathy Bertram, a resident of St James South Elmham and a member of VAITS, said the trip had made her feel more comfortable about noise levels from wind turbines.

However, she remained opposed to plans for the St James South Elmham wind farm on the ground it was an inappropriate siting.

"From experiencing the Out Newton wind farm, I must say that the noise isn't so very intrusive and we're not going to be driven from our homes by it," said Mrs Bertram.

"It was not tremendously loud and I think, overall, most people on the trip were comforted by the noise levels."

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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