WIND farms are a sign of the changing times and a direct response to the energy challenges facing the UK, Broadview Energy told a planning inquiry looking into its scheme to erect four turbines at Bicton near Kimbolton.

WIND farms are a sign of the changing times and a direct response to the energy challenges facing the UK, Broadview Energy told a planning inquiry looking into its scheme to erect four turbines at Bicton near Kimbolton.

The company's opening arguments in the planning inquiry, which started yesterday (Tuesday) at Pathfinder House in Huntingdon, were, in simple terms, that wind farms were needed and need to go somewhere.

Broadview was refused planning permission by Huntingdonshire District Council for the former Kimbolton airfield site overlooking Kimbolton, and has appealed against that decision.

Its appeal is being contested by HDC and Stop Bicton Wind Farm (SBWF) campaign group and was being watch by RES, the company that wants to build its own wind farm not too far away at Woolley Hill.

The appeal comes despite Broadview's own analysis showing that a considerable percentage of homes in the area would experience "significant effects" from the 138-hectare site, SBWF claimed.

But Marcus Rennick, QC, representing Broadview, told the inquiry that there was a "plethora of advice and direct experience" in support of the wind farm and they were supported by Government policy with its "commitment to renewable energy sources".

He said that the only way for the Government to hit its renewable energy targets was for companies such as Broadview to increase energy output, in Broadview's case from 40 terrawat hours in 2008 to a projected 240 terrawat hours in 2020. Bicton Wind Farm, he said, and others like it, should be allowed to go ahead to achieve this.

But according to Stop Bicton Wind Farm, which has campaigned for over two years against the scheme, there are other issues that need to be considered.

Counsel for the campaign group, Peter Jennings, said that while SBWF fully recognised that wind power and renewable energy is vital, it was important to strike a balance between wind farms and other Government commitments, such as preserving heritage, including Kimbolton castle.

He said that in a door-to-door survey of homes in Kimbolton, Stow Longa and Tilbrook - all areas said to be affected by the proposals - 91 per cent of people questioned were against the idea, and the project would have a disproportionately negative effect on nearby Grade I-listed buildings.

SBWF spokesman, Amy Howard, told The Hunts Post: "This inquiry is going to be very interesting because it's one Government policy against another. On the one hand a drive to support wind power, and on the other to protect our cultural heritage.

"Broadview argues that a supplementary planning directive by the Government says putting wind turbines on airfields is a wonderful idea - but there are hundreds of other airfields in Cambridgeshire, and only one Kimbolton Castle in the country."

Tina Douglass, representing HDC, reaffirmed the council's commitment to its original decision taken in January - refusal on the grounds that it contravened important local and national planning policy with regards to visual landscape and damage to cultural heritage found within two miles of the site.

The inquiry is expected to last two weeks, and a decision made by December 6.

● Two parish councils - Whittlesey and Ramsey - look set to have their objections quashed as Fenland District Council, with backing from Huntingdonshire District Council, agree to nearly double the size of a wind farm.

Glassmoor Bank at Pondersbridge near Ramsey Mereside is expected to expand from eight to 14 wind turbines if approval is given next week.