Graveley wind farm fight continues as developers appeal
CAMPAIGNERS against an eight-turbine wind farm on the site of the former Graveley airfield have vowed to take their fight to a public inquiry. Developers npower renewables is appealing Huntingdonshire District Council s refusal of planning consent for the
CAMPAIGNERS against an eight-turbine wind farm on the site of the former Graveley airfield have vowed to take their fight to a public inquiry.
Developers npower renewables is appealing Huntingdonshire District Council's refusal of planning consent for the scheme late last year. Planners told the company that the scheme, which includes eight 127-metre-high (400 feet) turbines, was not acceptable.
The appeal is expected to be held during the spring or summer.
Npower has indicated that it would rely heavily on the need for renewable sources of energy when it presents its case to an independent inspector.
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Planners received objections from seven parish councils, neighbouring South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, English Heritage, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly and more than 300 members of the public. There were nine letters of support for the scheme.
Planners acknowledged that the proposal complied with many elements of HDC's policy on wind farms but failed on two key landscape measures. They were also concerned about the impact on the Grade II*-listed Toseland Hall, and said the impact on a scheduled ancient monument in Toseland Wood had not been properly considered.
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But that has angered npower. The company's principal developer, Matt Pinfield, said: "We were dismayed by the level of debate at the planning committee meeting where members focused largely on the perceived negative impacts of the proposal and feel that the environmental benefits of the scheme were not given sufficient weight in the decision-making process."
He added: "There is a very real and urgent need to meet renewable energy targets, and Cotton Wind Farm would generate enough electricity to meet the annual average needs of thousands of homes each year and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide."
The Cotton Farm Action Group of residents opposed to the proposal this week promised to engage a barrister to fight the appeal, and urged the public to help fund the estimated �50,000 cost of the process.
"We will be working in partnership with HDC, but there are issues such as noise that HDC will not be covering and we are determined to bring what we consider are vital concerns to the attention of the planning inspector," said the group's chairman Bev Gray.
"We have a key role at the inquiry and this will be costly - perhaps as much as �50,000 - but is essential to success. If we really want to stop the development of these gigantic industrial machines on our doorstep, we need to raise funds urgently."
The protesters still have Mr Djanogly's backing. "My position continues to be that I support the use of renewable energy when it is placed correctly. However, I still believe that npower's proposals to build turbines higher than St Paul's Cathedral right in the middle of the beautiful Ouse Valley Way is not the right place for such a development."
INFORMATION: To donate to the action group's campaign call Jeff Tossell on 01480 880441 or visit the website on www.stopthewindfarm.org.uk