Developers vow to continue with wind farm

PUBLISHED: 15:27 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:22 02 June 2010

Developers vow to continue despite protests

Developers vow to continue despite protests

DEVELOPERS have vowed to press ahead with a wind farm despite protests which drove a farmer to take his own life.

Marshland Wind Farm wants to build 19 turbines on low-lying farmland between Marshland St James and Outwell.

It is putting its plans out to c

DEVELOPERS have vowed to press ahead with a wind farm despite protests which drove a farmer to take his own life.

Marshland Wind Farm wants to build 19 turbines on low-lying farmland between Marshland St James and Outwell.

It is putting its plans out to consultation at a series of public exhibitions next week, before a planning application is submitted to West Norfolk Council.

Last night, it released an artist's impression showing the view from Marshland St James if the scheme gets the go-ahead.

"There will be many more photomontages, maps and environmental documents so local people can gauge exactly what the turbines look like, where they will be and whether they will be able to see them or not in the distance from their homes," said a spokesman.

"This is an opportunity to find out exactly what is going to be proposed. It is also an opportunity to meet all of the people who have carefully brought the plans forward and who can answer your questions accurately and honestly.

"We feel confident that these photomontages and additional facts will help settle down and perhaps question some of the exaggerated, damaging and upsetting information which has been circulated."

Feelings have been running high in Marshland and its surrounding villages since plans for the wind farm were first revealed by a consortium of farmers early last year.

In May, father-of-three Richard Herbert, 47, who was part of the consortium, drowned himself in the Middle Level Drain.

An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing he had no history of mental illness but had become anxious and depressed as protests mounted.

Hundreds had attended a public meeting just weeks before his death, a test mast put up to check wind speeds in the area had been destroyed and Mr Herbert and other farmers had been sent letters threatening them with legal action.

Last night, David McGuffog, of protest group Flat (Fenland Landscape Against Turbines), said members would be attending the public meetings.

But he said: "There will be no trouble from members of our group. There was no trouble at the other meetings, it just got a bit heated. Richard was a friend of ours and it was absolutely heartbreaking."

Developers say surrounding villages could receive a windfall of up to £500,000 to improve community facilities if the plans get the go-ahead.

West Norfolk Council's development control board will decide whether the wind farm gets the go-ahead. At a meeting yesterday, neighbouring Fenland District Council heard new government guidelines said councils should view renewable energy schemes "sympathetically".

Deputy leader Fred Yeulett told councillors: "Failure to do so exposes the council to a planning appeal and all the costs of that appeal."

Last night it emerged planning officials had recommended approval for seven turbines alongside the eight already at Coldham, near Wisbech.

A report said the landscape could comfortably absorb more turbines without its character being affected.

Public consultation events for the Marshland scheme are:

Monday, March 10, 4pm-9pm at Outwell Village Hall;

Tuesday, March 11, 4pm-9pm at Emneth Village Hall;

Friday, March 14, 4pm-9pm at Marshland St James Village Hall.

From Monday, March 17, the plans will go on show in the foyer of RJ Herbert in Middle Drove, Marshland St James, for one week.

HERE IS THE FULL STATEMENT FROM MARSHLAND WIND FARM CONSORTIUM.

Marshland Wind Farm limited are now pleased that we have reached the stage where we can put our preparations and proposals forward for the public to comment prior to our application being submitted for Planning Permission.

The following consultation events have been organised in local village halls on the following days; -

Monday 10th March 2008, Venue:...Outwell village hall

Time 4.00 pm till 9.00 pm

Tuesday 11th March, 2008 Venue......Emneth Village Hall

Time 4.00 pm till 9.00 pm

Friday 14th March , 2008 Venue... Marshland St James Village Hall

Time 4.00pm till 9 pm

From 17th March the exhibition will be placed for 1 week in the foyer of RJ Herbert, Middle Drove, Marshland St James

The views and input of local people are important in a number of ways so we do hope that the public will come and view the exhibition, talk to our experts and offer some feed-back.

Community Benefit

Now that the wind farm is nearing completion in design, prior to consultation with the public, it is possible to estimate the amount of money that the Marshland St James locality will receive for their locality. As the design currently stands the payments will amount to approximately £494,000 for this community directly from the wind turbine development. The public reaction so far to this massive 'windfall' is a preference towards sports facilities and new/improved village halls. Other suggestions include environmental planting and improvements, renewable energy grants, insulation grants and one off payments towards energy bills. More input and ideas will be welcome from the public on the days of the consultation or afterwards. The 'usual route' for this matter is for a discussion with the Parish and Borough Council(s) to then take place to ensure that local people control the spending of their windfall and make their own local decisions on the management of the money.

Information

This is an opportunity to find out exactly what is going to be proposed. It is also an opportunity to meet all of the people who have carefully brought the plans forward and who can answer your questions accurately and honestly.

There will be many more photomontages, maps and environmental documents so local people can gauge exactly what the turbines look like, where they will be and whether they will be able to see them or not in the distance from their homes.

Following the consultation exercise all of the details about the wind turbine proposals will then be released to the wider public

The Turbines

The turbines themselves will be Enercon 'E82' type turbines.

Each turbine could provide 5 million units of electricity per year

Supplying around 1250 homes for their electric needs per year supplied to the national grid

Each turbine saves 4,000 tonnes of CO2 per year per turbine being emitted to the atmosphere

94% of the public that live near wind turbines are in favour of them

Clean power from an inexhaustible free supply

The wind turbines will operate for 25 years. Wind will still be free in 25 years time and the cost of gas, electricity and nuclear power will be...anyone's guess?

No tax payers money will go into the construction of the turbines

It has always been the first choice of the local people forming the land consortium to have the very best turbines. The Enercon turbines were always that choice and are very special. Their performance is in all respects excellent and part of their elegant design is based on drawings by Sir Norman Foster.

The 'actual facts' will be available to those who simply want to know, or have become confused, at the public exhibitions and we encourage all local people to come along and talk to the Technical Consultants behind the project and the Developers' themselves.

We understand that a 'Friends of the Earth' representative will attend some of the events and MWFL will make sure that they are welcome, within the exhibition, to give their independent views on this proposal and renewable energy in general to anyone who wishes to seek their input/views/opinions.

The Next Steps

MWFL believe very strongly that the first people to see the details of the proposal should be the local public themselves. This is one of the important features of the Public Consultation. Immediately following the consultation exercise and even during it all the details will be available to the press and the media.

Marshland Wind Farm Limited hope to make a Planning application to the Government Department responsible or the Local Authority in a short while, however this depends to some degree on the comments that we receive and any adjustments that we feel we should make to the proposals, following our Public Consultation.

AND HERE'S THE RESPONSE FROM ANTI WIND TURBINE GROUP, FLAT.

We obviously have not had an opportunity to see the actual plans which will hopefully reveal the number, size and location of the turbines. Once this is available we will be issuing a press release and organising another public meeting.

However my comments on the press release mainly relate to the "bribe" of £474K with which they are obviously hoping to sway public onion.

We don't know any details yet but I assume this will be over 25 years and therefore represents about £20K per year (if it actually materialises). When you look at how many people will be affected by the development this represents about 1 or 2 pound per year per person. Also bear in mind when inflation is taken into account this will be only be worth a few pence per person in 25 years time.

This does not seem much compensation for the desecration of our landscape, fall in house prices and possible health implications!!! Also bear in mind the your £1 "bribe" will enable the landowners to make between £8 and 15K per turbine per year while the TWO shareholders of Marshland Windfarm Limited will makes tens of thousand of pounds per turbine per year in indirect subsides PAID FOR THROUGH YOUR ELECTRICITY BILLS. We will provide more details about this in the near future.

They also seem to imply that they have already consulted with local people about how to spend the money. We know this to be nonsense - no public consultation has occurred except a Parish Poll organised by concerned parishioners which gave a resounding NO to this unwanted power station!

I would also be interested to know what efficiency figure they have based their claims on for the electricity production and CO2 savings. It is a well known fact that On Shore Wind Factories very rarely achieve the figures that they claim in their "publicity spin"!!!

That's all for now - watch this space

Lyndon Mason

For and on behalf of FLAT

IF you want to comment on this story please email the Editor: john.elworthy@archant.co.uk


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