Wind farm campaign is blowing stronger

A CAMPAIGN opposing plans to build a large wind farm on a former airfield in north Suffolk is gathering momentum.Newly formed protest group Villagers Against Inappropriate Turbine Sitings (VAITS) will elect its executive committee at a meeting on Thursday.

A CAMPAIGN opposing plans to build a large wind farm on a former airfield in north Suffolk is gathering momentum.

Newly formed protest group Villagers Against Inappropriate Turbine Sitings (VAITS) will elect its executive committee at a meeting on Thursday.

The group was set up to oppose plans by Saxon Windpower to build a £20 million wind farm on the old Metfield Airfield, at St James South Elmham, between Halesworth and Bungay.

The Ipswich-based company wishes to build up to 10 328ft turbines which could provide electricity for up to 24,000 homes and have offered the protesters the chance to visit one of their wind farms in Outnewton, near Hull, to see how quietly it operates.


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Jane Bastow, one of the village's prominent protesters, was also concerned about the destruction of the landscape, damage to natural habitats for birds and bats, and the loss of popular footpaths and bridleways.

Mrs Bastow, who will be fundraising for the group on Sunday, said: "The issue is about inappropriate siting in a beautiful part of the country and noise is only part of the problem."

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Nearby residents in Linstead, Metfield, Rumburgh and Chediston were also concerned over seeing and possibly hearing the turbines from their homes and farms.

Graham Elliot, co-ordinator for Waveney Green Party, did not wish to comment directly on the issue until he had seen more detailed plans, but asked local people to think long and hard before making up their minds on the matter.

Forbes Bramble, from Linstead, said he was not opposed to windpower in the appropriate place, but thought the development was too much for the flat sparsely populated area.

Farmer Andrew Hadingham, who was approached by Saxon Windpower over the use of his land for the wind farm, said the proposals were an opportunity and hoped reasoned argument would be used in the debate.

He said: "Whether it is our land or not, there is likely to be a wind farm somewhere in this area eventually."

Ian Booker, development manager for Saxon Windpower, a joint company formed by renewable energy firms Your Energy of Ipswich and Tradewind Renewables of Wales, said feedback from consultation sessions in St James had been more positive than negative.

He added that consultation sessions in Linstead, Metfield, Rumburgh, Chediston, and possibly Halesworth, would be carried out soon.

A formal planning application may be made later this year before the detailed plans go out for local consultation and, if they are approved, the wind farm could be up and running by 2005.

VAITS will meet at St James Village Hall on Thursday at 7.30pm.

Mrs Bastow is also organising a lunch in her garden to raise funds for the group and St James' village hall on Sunday 11am-3pm.

If 10 turbines were built at St James South Elmham they would generate enough electricity to supply 11,500 homes.

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