FENLAND: Community completely and bitterly divided over turbines, MP tells Parliament

PUBLISHED: 15:05 03 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:41 29 April 2010

A COMMUNITY completely and bitterly divided over proposals for wind turbines is how Marshland St James was described in Parliament. MP for North West Norfolk Henry Bellingham called into question the efficiency of small clusters of onshore turbines. He sa

A COMMUNITY completely and bitterly divided over proposals for wind turbines is how Marshland St James was described in Parliament.

MP for North West Norfolk Henry Bellingham called into question the efficiency of small clusters of onshore turbines.

He said: "Putting small clusters of eight, nine or 10 turbines onshore does untold environmental damage, for very little gain, whereas offshore turbines can achieve critical mass and make a gain."

Commenting on recent events in Marshland St James he said: "Tragically, one of the proposers, a farmer, committed suicide; another farmer's diesel tank was slashed; and one of the main opponents, a local borough councillor, suffered an arson attack on some of his outbuildings. The community is completely divided."

His comments on onshore clusters of turbines were supported by Keith Simpson MP for Mid Norfolk. Mr Simpson said he was representing constituents who had been opposing the siting of six wind turbines since 2004.

He said: " Government subsidies are effectively being used by developers to achieve what is known locally as the Tesco factor: if one has enough money and one keeps coming back, one will eventually overwhelm the planning inspectorate - and even persuade local people, who have to use their own money to appeal, that it is not worth the fight."

South West Norfolk MP Christopher Fraser said: "The issue is extremely important to people throughout Norfolk and, I dare say the country as a whole."

Mr Fraser said people in rural areas believe they are getting a raw deal from the Government's green agenda; they had to put up with the impact of wind turbines but were not benefiting from lower energy bills.

While MPs were debating the merits of wind turbines, a new study revealed that turbines which rotate quickly could cause seizures.

Blades should not spin more than 60 times a minute, according to researchers at the Universities of Essex and Aston. A spokesman said: "They were looking to identify what type of flicker from wind turbines could bring on seizures and as a result have come up with guidelines to minimise impact."

The report says that three years ago a wind turbine near March's Whitemoor Prison started being switched off in the early morning because flickering shadows were annoying inmates which could have led to security problems if prisoners became upset.


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