Windfarm proposal angers residents

DEVELOPERS behind a multi-million pound wind farm earmarked for rural Suffolk says he may reduce the turbines size in a bid to help allay residents' fears.

DEVELOPERS behind a multi-million pound wind farm earmarked for rural Suffolk says he may reduce the turbines size in a bid to help allay residents' fears.

Mid Suffolk Council has given the go ahead for a 70 metre high wind monitoring mast at Wyverstone, near Stowmarket, and the structure will be in place for up to a year.

It was expected lead to an application for two 126 metre tall turbines in the village, at a cost of about £4 million.

Residents are concerned that once some are given the go ahead it will open up the whole area to developers seeking to litter the landscape with the structures.

Already separate developers have been looking into placing four giant 125 metre high wind units near the Mendlesham Mast, to power more than 5,500 homes

But now Andy Hilton, managing director of Norfolk based Wind Power Renewables, says he has been researching different options and may be able to use more efficient 100 metre high turbines instead at a similar cost.

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Mr Hilton, who was project manager for the construction of Britain's two large offshore wind farms Scroby Sands off Yarmouth and Barrow wind farm off the north west coast, said: “We could be able to reduce the height.

“We have been looking into 100 metre high ones, which have a greater output, and this would allow us to alleviate the concerns of the opposition.

“This is a good site. We are also getting great results off our monitoring mast, there is a good wind profile.”

But villagers fighting to stop the wind farm are calling a series of public meetings as they intensify their campaign. Stop Wyverstone Wind farm Action Group (SWWAG) have also launched a website as they oppose the development that would power 2,200 homes.

Dr Neil Macey a Stowmarket GP and chairman of the action group, said: “It was expected that Wind-power Renewables would apply for planning permission to build two wind turbines in Potash Farm.

“Each turbine is 125 metres high (410 feet) and will have a wing span near that of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

“Even when you reduce them to 100 metres they would still be five times the height of the next largest structure in the area and this in no way assuages are concerns, they would still be hugely out of scale with everything else around them.”

Residents are also worried about noise from the operation, the flickering caused by sunlight passing through the rotating blades, and possible health fears associated with the structures.

SWWAG have organised a series of public meetings aim to raise awareness of the proposal and group's concerns.

The meetings are being held on Thursday May 8 at Westhorpe Village Hall, on Monday May 12 at Badwell Ash Village Hall and on Tuesday May 20 at Wyverstone Village Hall, with all meetings starting at 7.30pm.