Fears over wind farms

FEARS were raised today that Suffolk villagers were being rushed in to making decisions on a £10 million wind farm that could be coming to their area.The concerns were raised as plans for the world's largest offshore wind farms moved a step closer today when 15 new sites around the UK coastline were announced.

FEARS were raised today that Suffolk villagers were being rushed in to making decisions on a £10 million wind farm that could be coming to their area.

The concerns were raised as plans for the world's largest offshore wind farms moved a step closer today when 15 new sites around the UK coastline were announced.

Parish councils in Marlesford, Great Glemham and Parham have all been consulted by Ipswich-based Saxon Windpower about a possible development on Parham airfield, and have been asked to gather residents' opinions.

But they fear the deadline for them to report back to Suffolk Coastal with their findings will not allow enough time for everyone to have their say.

Lord Cranbrook, clerk for Great Glemham parish council, said: "We feel this is an unfair time of year to do this. With Christmas and New Year coming up it makes it very difficult to contact people about this.

"We are being asked to report back to the district council by January 16 which leaves very little time when the public exhibition is not taking place until January 14."

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Saxon Windpower is proposing to build six 100-metre high turbines which would generate enough electricity for 6,500 homes.

They will be holding a public exhibition of their plans at Parham airfield on January 14 between 11am and 7pm.

A planning application has not yet been submitted but when it is it will need to be accompanied by an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

The parish councils, and any other interested local parties, are currently being asked to come up with is a list of issues that may need to be considered in this EIA.

A spokesman for Suffolk coastal confirmed that the current deadline for parish council comments is January 16 and said the council would still consider any feedback received after that date.

Wind farms are expected to produce electricity for more than one in six households by the end of the decade.

The 15 sites announced today by the government are to be built in three areas of shallow sea around the Thames Estuary, Greater Wash and the North West.

The proposals include the world's largest offshore wind farm around 40 kilometres off the Lincolnshire coastline which could have up to 250 or more turbines.

Suggestions on what the EIA should consider can be sent, by January 16, to North Area Development Control, Suffolk Coastal District Council, Melton Hill, Woodbridge IP12 1AU, or email dc.north.windfarm@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

If you would like further information prior to the exhibition call Saxon Windpower on 01473 786968.

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