West Huntspill protesters urge inquiry to turn down wind turbine appeal
A public inquiry is underway this week as Ecotricity seeks to reverse Sedgemoor District Council's ruling last April denying permission to build four giant wind turbines in West Huntspill.
The inquiry is being held at the Princess Hall in Burnham-on-Sea and has now been adjourned. It will resume on the 7th May when the landscape element of the inquiry will be heard.
This morning the Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group, which opposes the plans, launched a blimp near the proposed site to illustrate how the four 400 ft tall turbines might look as part of the landscape.
The group states the main impact would be visual with the four structures detracting from the natural beauty of the Somerset Levels. Other factors include: a threat to road safety due to shadow flicker, the effect on local wildlife, the likely reduction of house prices, and the potential to cause sleep deprivation for residents living within a one-mile radius of the proposed farm.
Ecotricity argues that the site at Black Ditch is an appropriate location for a proposed wind farm of this size and would generate enough energy to power almost 6,800 homes. The company has an existing turbine in Somerset at Shooter's Bottom, Chewton Mendip.
The company has also offered a financial incentive of an annual fund of £9,200 which local residents could apply for over the 25-year lifespan of the proposed turbines.
The launch of the blimp this morning attracted a lot of public attention as it can be seen for miles and serves as a good indication of the height of the proposed turbines.
The application was refused last April but Ecotricity have called for this appeal because it says that a major reason for the original rejection now no longer applies: EDF Energy Renewables had also submitted an application to construct a five-turbine wind farm nearby but their project has since been dropped.
Ecotricity argues that as this other application represented a major obstacle to getting clearance for their own, its termination presents no further barrier.
It has also undertaken research with the RSPB and Natural England and presented the joint opinion today that there would be no significant adverse effect on either birds or bats as a result of the project.
The inquiry continues...