Gone with the wind
A PLANNING application to erect three wind turbines has been withdrawn – for the time being at least. An independent report by the Weston Wind Farm Working Group, which has been presented to Weston Parish Council, lists some 30 recommendations including a
A PLANNING application to erect three wind turbines has been withdrawn - for the time being at least.
An independent report by the Weston Wind Farm Working Group, which has been presented to Weston Parish Council, lists some 30 recommendations including a report to North Herts District Council on the noise created by the turbines.
Developers John and Paul Cherry, of Darnalls Hall Farm, Weston, want to construct a wind farm on Pond Place, a field in Hatch Lane near the Baldock bypass.
The three turbines, which would each be 120 metres high and sit on an escarpment giving an elevation of 144 metres above sea level, would be capable of generating up to 2,000,000 watts of electricity per hour - sufficient to power 2,000 one bar electric fires.
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In the report the developers have listed the benefits to Weston as improving the environment credentials of the farming community, to generate electricity for the community, to relieve the great financial stress farmers are under and provide them with greater security, and therefore more security to the community.
But the report also reveals The Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England believes it is a test case and if the application succeeds there could be a proliferation of wind farms in the area. And the working group says the impact on Weston is almost completely ignored.
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"There are many inaccurate statements, some are misleading, some are subjective, and some are not based on facts. Some are untrue and whilst it is to be expected that they will wish to show the proposed development in a good light, they are rather biased," says the report.
"It is believed this development will have an impact beyond the local community.
"Should this application be approved it is likely further applications in the area will ensue.
"Within Weston this development is highly divisive. There are strong allegiances within the village and whatever decision is reached there will be those who will be upset if not angry."
The report adds: "The overwhelming scale of the proposal so close to the village is the main cause of concern.
"Noise may well be the issue that will dominate the debate. If the calculations are wrong, and noise is notoriously difficult to predict, then many of us may be seriously affected."
The report also considers site access saying Hatch Lane is a long, narrow road with a hairpin bend, as well as the social impact on Weston with people wanting to visit the site, possible public order problems, light pollution if aviation lights are required, site security and, most importantly, the health aspect with the possible loss of sleep due to visual and audible effects of the turbines under certain conditions.
The wind farm would lie directly in the flight path from Graveley air strip meaning aircraft would have to divert on take off either over Baldock or Weston. Non-commercial aircraft flying between Luton and Stansted airports may also have to fly closer to Weston.
The report also says the wind farm would have a visual impact on Baldock and Letchworth and would be seen from Hitchin and Offley as well as Stotfold, Henlow, Shefford, Langford and even Sandy, a distance of more than nine miles away.
"It is estimated several tens of thousands of people will have a view of the turbines," says the report.
"Millions of pounds extra were spent concealing the Baldock bypass to reduce visibility and noise. If North Herts District Council is minded to consent to this application they should be questioned as to what environmental considerations have changed since."
John Cherry, one of the men behind the development said: "I was very impressed by the report and we have withdrawn our planning application.
"The application needs beefing up and we want to put a lot of things right that we got wrong.
"We don't want to have a big falling out over this and hopefully everyone will be happy in the end.
"Hopefully we will address some of the criticisms.