Residents divided over wind farm merits

RESIDENTS facing the possibility of a wind farm at Parham Airfield in Suffolk remain divided over the scheme's merits after visiting a seven-turbine operation near Hull.

RESIDENTS facing the possibility of a wind farm at Parham Airfield in Suffolk remain divided over the scheme's merits after visiting a seven-turbine operation near Hull.

Saxon Windpower is currently looking at erecting six 101m turbines at the old Second World War site near Framlingham.

But it is facing fierce opposition from pressure group No Windfarm At Parham (NOWAP), a local campaign group.

The Ipswich-based company laid on a trip to Out Newton, a wind farm in countryside near Hull, on Tuesday to allow local residents to see a similar project in action.

Some NOWAP members joined the trip, as well residents who were enthusiastic about green energy and those were undecided about the impact the turbines would have.

While some were enthused by what they had seen, others were downcast.

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The Hull scheme, run by Powergen, contains seven 80m turbines and has been running for two years.

It is the second visit organised by the company, who also took villagers up to Swaffham in Norfolk to see their turbines in operation.

Saxon Windpower said an exact replica of what they are planning for Parham does not exist, but the aim was to give people an opportunity to see the reality of a wind farm.

The Parham scheme is still in the early stages, and planning permission has yet to be sought.

The party was greeted at the Out Newton scheme by Robina Herrington, a parish councillor from the nearby village of Easington.

She explained she was against the wind farm when it was proposed and wrote many letters expressing her opinion.

However, she had been converted after seeing the reality. She felt how appropriate the turbines were depended on the setting.

"I think it depends where they are going to be honest. It depends what the countryside is like," she said. "I think they are quite attractive now."

The visitors from Suffolk had mixed views.

"They are a lot worse than I was expecting to be honest," said Geoffrey Inett, of Parham, a member of NOWAP. "Of course this site is nothing like Parham - there's hardly a house to be seen except the landowner's."

He expressed concern about the shadow cast by the turbines, and the light flicker, but felt the noise was the worst aspect.

"It's split the village - it's appalling. I don't know how anyone could possibly think it's a good idea."

Julie Inett, his wife, broke down in tears after seeing the turbines.

"I thought it was frightening," she said. "I think the sheer scale is huge, the environmental vandalism is so big I found it difficult to deal with."

She added: "I did find the noise offensive but I think it's the fact they make you feel so tiny and unimportant. They are so completely out of scale with anything human."

Judy Masters, of Framlingham, said she was "pleasantly surprised", and that they were "not as noisy as I thought they would be".

Ivan Taylor, of Great Glemham, who estimated he was within about a half a mile of the site, said: "Really I can't see what the fuss is about."

Jo Donsworth, of Parham, was concerned that the noise "carries on all the time".

"I would rather it was not happening, but if it is then I think we all owe it to the future of the environment to look at it and find out what's what. But I don't want to live with a constant noise," she said.

John Constable, of Great Glemham, chairman of NOWAP, said: "I expected them to be quieter. In fact they are very noisy and this was over a high background noise of the wind."

Rose Morford, of Great Glemham, estimates she would be about 800m from the proposed site.

"The main thing I wanted to see for myself was the noise factor," she said. "I was amazed how quickly the noise fell off really once you get beyond 300m. I can't see it would be a problem."

She added: "There's no doubting they are very big. It really comes down to personal preference as to whether you consider it a feature or an eyesore."

n THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed it will not be objecting to proposals to set up a wind farm at Parham.

Officials had originally objected to the plan for six 101-metre wind turbines at Parham airfield, near Framlingham.

There were concerns over the possible effect they could have on radar facilities in the county.

It is understood the concerns centred on radar facilities at RAF Wattisham but those fears appear to have been eased by Saxon Windpower, the firm behind the project.

An MoD spokesman confirmed yesterday that Saxon Windpower had been informed there were no grounds for objection relating to interference with radars.

"The MoD has no technical grounds for objecting to the proposals as they now stand," he said.

If the MoD had objected to the plans, Saxon Windpower would have been unlikely to secure planning permission for the project.

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