THE company appealing against refusal of planning permission for a wind farm between Conington and Boxworth has reduced the number of 100-metre-high turbines it wants to build from 16 to 15. An appeal by Your Energy Limited against South Cambridgeshire pl
THE company appealing against refusal of planning permission for a wind farm between Conington and Boxworth has reduced the number of 100-metre-high turbines it wants to build from 16 to 15.
An appeal by Your Energy Limited against South Cambridgeshire planners' refusal of consent for Cambridge Wind Farm is expected to start on October 17.
If the appeal succeeds, the wind farm would be visible not just from the A14, where objectors say it would distract drivers and cause accidents, but would tower over Fen Drayton, Fenstanton, Hilton and Papworth, and could be seen from Huntingdon, Eaton Socon and east Bedfordshire.
The turbines will be taller than the tower of Ely Cathedral.
The promoters say the project would generate 78,000 MWh per annum, equivalent to the needs of 16,700 homes.
They claim the farm would meet 32 per cent of the domestic electricity needs of South Cambridgeshire district, and go a long way toward meeting the Government's targets to produce 10 per cent of energy through renewable sources by 2010.
Peter Hinson, project consultant to Your Energy, explained the reduction in the number of turbines, saying: "Our application was submitted two years ago.
"During that time there have been changes in Government policy relating to renewable energy and there was also the possibility changes in the local environment could have occurred at the site.
"With that in mind, we reviewed the environmental constraints, which confirmed that the area is still a good site for a wind farm. We took the opportunity to update our surveys of bats - which concludes that there is no significant effect - and also carried out an update on historic landscape and ecology.
"The reduction of one turbine isn't in response to any one factor. Rather it makes an overall improvement to the design."
Mike Barnard, of the Stop Cambridge Wind Farm Action Group (StopCWF), responded: "This is a very interesting development. The loss of one turbine makes no difference to the scale of the overall scheme.
"There will still be 15 turbines as tall as Big Ben, each sweeping out an area in the sky the size of a football pitch, causing huge damage to the landscape and degrading the quality of life for thousands of people living nearby.
"The interesting question is why Your Energy have been forced to take out a turbine when they have stressed all along that they believed this industrial wind factory was perfectly acceptable on the ridge between Boxworth and Conington and met all the environmental, technical and commercial requirements. Further, why do they not tell us the actual reason why?"
The deleted turbine was the one nearest Boxworth, but the principal noise worries relate to the Conington end of the scheme, the protesters say.
"There are still the issues of safety on the A14, reduction of the radar quality at Cambridge Airport, degradation of the landscape, impact on wildlife, exaggerated claims for the benefits and more still to be resolved," Mr Barnard added.
He said planners had already approved 94 per cent of Cambridgeshire's 2010 target for wind power - more than half the approved schemes in the East of England are in the county - and feared the cumulative effect would be a degradation of the landscape when they are built, creating a free-for-all for developers.