Minister to rule on zoo wind farm plan

THE Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is expected to have to decide whether Hamerton Zoo in west Huntingdonshire can put up two 25-metre (80 feet) wind turbines to reduce the park’s carbon footprint and fuel bills.

THE Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is expected to have to decide whether Hamerton Zoo in west Huntingdonshire can put up two 25-metre (80 feet) wind turbines to reduce the park’s carbon footprint and fuel bills.

The proposal ticks all the planning boxes, and Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management panel will be recommended to approve it next Monday (August 16).

But English Heritage says Grade II*-listed Hamerton Church could be affected by the turbines. The organisation had been unable to assess the impact on the views of the church from the Giddings without further information, it told HDC. Without that it was not able to support the application.

The site’s predicted annual average wind speed of 4.8metres per second at 10metres height would result in an estimated output of 49.2 megawatt hours of electricity a year, the planners estimate. The current energy consumption at Hamerton Zoological Park is approximately 30MWh. The zoo says unused generation would be fed back into the national grid.


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Hamerton Parish Council is supporting the application, saying that there are so many pylons in the area already that a couple of turbines would be neither here nor there.

However, seven members of the public had a variety of concerns, including the ‘semi-industrialisation’ of Steeple Gidding, visual intrusion, noise and disturbance of red kites.

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The proposal is in keeping with HDC’s policy guidance on wind turbines that was drawn up a few years ago when applications began to proliferate, and the planners are not impressed by English Heritage’s intervention. Even so, if councillors approve the application, it will still need the rubber-stamp from the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.

“Any adverse impact on this historic asset through the obstruction of views of the church is only from a specific narrow corridor along the road to the north of the site,” the planners say.

“It is considered that the setting of the church is formed from a wider perspective than this narrow view and, notwithstanding the fact that within this view the church may be affected, the majority of the views will not be adversely affected.

“Due to the angle of views obtained of the church and the localised planting and vegetation any harm is not considered to be significant.”

English Nature did not share the objector’s concern about red kites. There would be no significant impact on biodiversity, the planners say.

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