No to wind farm but plane stack is fine

No to the wind farm… ANTI-wind farm campaigners were this week backed by Huntingdon s MP in their protest over eight proposed turbines on the former Graveley airfield. Villagers from Graveley, Great Paxton, the Offords, Toseland and Yelling protested at

No to the wind farm...

ANTI-wind farm campaigners were this week backed by Huntingdon's MP in their protest over eight proposed turbines on the former Graveley airfield.

Villagers from Graveley, Great Paxton, the Offords, Toseland and Yelling protested at a weekend exhibition by promoters npower Renewables at the Offords village hall, flying a hot air balloon at 417 feet (127 metres) - the height of each of the planned turbines.

MP Jonathan Djanogly told The Hunts Post afterwards: "Without doubt local people are very upset about the proposals. The impact on the communities would be enormous. On that basis alone I have a lot of sympathy with those who have lived in these communities and bought homes there.

"So I am allying myself with the objectors to these turbines, which would be taller than St Paul's Cathedral. I don't know why they can't build them offshore, where there's more wind.

"The villagers in the Offords feel they are being picked on, with the A14 route and then the NATS (planes for Luton Airport flying over the area) proposals. I'm sympathetic to local concerns."

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At the wind farm protest last weekend, Bev Gray, chairman of the villagers' Cotton Farm Action Group, said: "We are giving visitors the kind of information npower will not be handing out, such as details of the high indirect subsidies that make these wind farms profitable.

"This is why sites with relatively low wind speeds, such as Graveley airfield, would generate little electricity but plenty of profit."

The protesters are fearful not only of the turbines visual intrusion into the rural landscape, but noise, destruction of countryside and detrimental impact on wildlife.

A spokesman for the promoters said the company had explained the proposals to parish councillors on Saturday morning and to more than 650 members of the public in the afternoon and on Sunday.

"We asked people to give us their responses, but we haven't analysed them yet," she added. "A lot of people had concerns, but many supported it."

Project developer Kim Gauld-Clark added: "npower renewables staff were on hand to speak to people at the exhibition, where information about the proposed transport routes to the site, noise assessment work and ecology surveys was explained, along with photo-montages representing how the wind farm could look.

"Our intention is to submit a planning application to Huntingdonshire District Council in spring 2008, which will be rigorously assessed by the council in the usual way, including consulting with nearby residents."

... but planes are OK.

JONATHAN Djanogly MP said he had been reassured by a meeting with the National Air Traffic Control Services (NATS) that there would be little impact on local communities from new plans to stack aircraft for Luton over parts of Huntingdonshire.

"There would be a maximum of seven planes at any one time at a height of 7,000 feet. It means 20,000 fewer people would be flown over than now. At the moment there are more planes and they are flying lower."

Mr Djanogly said the plan was for planes to join the stack at 14,000 feet. At that height the noise impact would be negligible. "They then descend in a circle and come out of the stack around the Gransdens, heading over Potton on a direct line to Luton. Whoever is further down the line will have a lot of noise."

Although the 14,000-feet stack includes places such as Cambourne, the proposed stack radius is half the size by the time the planes have descended to 7,000 feet, he had been assured.

"I have spoken to people who live on the Royston stack with one plane at 60 decibels, and they say they can't hear a thing," he added. "My extreme concerns have been removed.