70m mast could lead to Southoe wind farm application

A SMALL wind farm could be on the cards for farmland near Grafham Water, between Southoe and Perry.

Promoter TCI Renewables, which already has planning consent for a 60-metre wind monitoring mast nearby, has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to replace that permission with one for a 70-metre-high mast nearly 1km further east.

The meteorological mast, on arable land north-west of Church Farm, Rectory Lane, Southoe, would be around 1km from Grafham Water reservoir and would be used for a temporary period of three years to assess wind speed and direction at various heights. It would be fitted with bird flight diverters.

It could be followed by an application to build a wind farm if the data prove favourable.

David Anders, TCI Renewables’ planning manager, has told the council: “The detailed siting of the mast is crucial for the accurate assessment of the wind resource at the proposed wind farm site.

“The previous mast location would have been centrally located within the original area of investigation for the proposed wind farm, but is too far from the present area of investigation.

“Importantly there is a difference in land height and a different relationship with surrounding woodland, hedgerow and other vegetation that could potentially affect the average wind speed at hub height,” he added.

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“Therefore, the location of the approved mast is no longer appropriate to assess the wind resource accurately in relation to the fields presently under detailed investigation.

“The present mast is 10 metres taller than that previously proposed. However, it is not considered that this increase in height will materially add to its visual impact.”

Mr Anders said the mast would have very limited visual impact on the surrounding area.

“The proposed meteorological mast, which has a galvanised finish, is a slender and lightweight structure, particularly considering its height, which helps to limit visual impact. This is achieved by the use of guy wires that will be hardly perceptible from any distance other than in the immediate vicinity of the mast.”