VILLAGERS UNITE TO PUT WIND UP TURBINE PLAN
An action group has been formed to oppose plans for nine wind turbines close to Sulgrave Manor.
German company Enertrag is looking at the possibility of putting up the turbine which would be two-and-a-half times higher than Nelson’s Column – on land between Sulgrave and Weston.
The land is owned by All Soul’s College in Oxford.
Each turbine, which would 130m tall and 90m wide including the blades, would be capable of generating two megawatts of electricity.
Sulgrave Manor held a meeting last month to provide a forum for discussion, with 180 people attending from the area, including Weston, Sulgrave, Helmdon, Culworth, Moreton Pinkney and Thorpe Mandeville.
Residents are opposed to the turbines because they believe it would be a blot on the landscape.
There is particular concern as the site is close to Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of first US President George Washington, which attracts visitors from both sides of the Atlantic.
They also believe the turbines would mean hundreds of horse riders who use the bridleways through the site would be unable to do so.
Sulgrave and Weston Windfarm Action Group chairman, Digby Smith, felt the overwhelming feeling from the public meeting was that villagers were 'very much against it’.
He said: ‘The action group wants to identify the problems with this site – it does seem a very unsuitable site.
‘What surprises me is that no consideration seems to be given to how windy a site is. Even if turbines only produce 15 percent of their potential, the company will still get their money.
‘Also, 450 (sic)or more horses stables, with two-and-a-half miles of Sulgrave bridleway runs through where turbines would be.’
Lifelong resident Colin Wootton added: ‘A meeting with a wind farm adviser totally convinced me wind farms are simply not viable in terms of their carbon-saving contribution to energy needs.
‘I have moved from being a simple Nimby to a Niaby (not in anyone’s backyard).’
Enertrag has submitted an environmental assessment report to South Northamptonshire Council, in which it has estimated the noise level of the turbines, along with their impact on the landscape and ecology.
In what is known as a 'scoping request’, the company is seeking the council’s comments but it is not an actual planning application.
David Linley, project manger for Enertrag, said the placing of the wind turbines would not have any affect on horse riders.
He also rejected comments that lack of wind would make turbines inefficient.
He said ‘Would we by spending £20 million if they did not work properly?’
‘Of course there will be some visual impact, but the benefits of this project are high.’
The Banbury Guardian - 20th September 2009