Villagers shun wind farm trip

By David GreenVILLAGERS living near the site of a proposed wind farm are shunning an opportunity to visit a similar development already in operation.

By David Green

VILLAGERS living near the site of a proposed wind farm are shunning an opportunity to visit a similar development already in operation.

Only 24 people from the St James South Elmham have so far signed up for tomorrow's trip - amid claims from some of the scheme's opponents that it is merely a propaganda exercise.

Saxon Windpower, which wants to put up 10 328ft high turbines in St James South Elmham, is offering residents and parish councillors the chance to visit a wind farm already in operation near Hull.

The company, which has booked a 45-seater coach, said it wanted to show residents the reality of a wind farm and to put an end to claims the turbines would create a noise nuisance.

But a group formed to fight the wind farm plan claimed the trip to Hull was a propaganda exercise and would do nothing to address the concerns of residents.

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Jane Bastow, spokeswoman for Villagers Against Inappropriate Turbine Siting, said: “Basically we think it is a waste of time because the situation up there is nothing like it is here. The nearest houses are much further away.”

Saxon Windpower said it was disappointed with the response and denied the trip was a propaganda exercise.

Julia Holdcraft, spokeswoman for the firm, said: “We felt that if people felt really strongly about this issue they would want to see an existing wind farm in operation.

“If they are still against wind turbines after the visit, then at least they will be basing their views on facts.

“We are hoping that someone from Easington, the nearest village, will speak to those on the coach. Before the turbines were erected, local residents there expressed the same fears as we are now getting from people at St James.”

Meanwhile, a war of words has broken out over posters advertising the trip and the display of pro-wind power posters produced by environment groups. Rumburgh parish clerk, Caroline Cordwell, has declined a request from Saxon Windpower to put up a replacement poster advertising the wind farm trip after the original was pulled off the village noticeboard.

Mrs Cordwell said: “I am impartial over the issue, but it is not my job to put up posters for Saxon Windpower. I put the first lot up. It seems like they're asking me to do work that isn't my responsibility.”

Villagers opposed to the wind farm scheme were also angry over the appearance in the area of posters declaring “Yes2Wind”.

The website quoted at the bottom of the posters belongs to three national environment groups that support wind power - Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Worldwide Fund for Nature

Forbes Bramble, who lives in Linstead, said: “I don't think it is appropriate for a national organisation to support such an industrial development without consulting local people.”

Mary Edwards, regional spokeswoman for Friends of the Earth, said the Yes2Wind posters were likely to have been put up by local supporters of the scheme.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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