Battle lines drawn as first stage of wind farm plans head to committee

PUBLISHED: 11:14 10 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:14 10 March 2014

A view of the mast from Dam Bank Drove

A view of the mast from Dam Bank Drove

Archant

The first battle in the war over a set of four proposed wind turbines near Haddenham is set to be fought in East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee.

Haddenham councillor Pauline Wilson has requested that an application by REG Windpower for a 61.5metre anemometer –a device used to test wind speed – at Berry Fen be considered by the planning committee instead of behind closed doors by planning officials.

Opponents of the plans say it is just a pre-cursor to much larger plans, which will see four 130metre-tall wind turbines built on the fen, something they say will blight views and farm wildlife.

By way of comparison, Ely Cathedral stands 66m tall at its highest point.

More than 240 objections have so far been received by the district council, with the planning application expected to go before councillors in the coming months.

In consultation with the council, Haddenham Conservation Society said: “It is most concerned that the guy wires, in particular, would create a hazard for very fast flying birds of prey such as very close by breeding hobby.”

And Ralph Lucas, of Meadow Lane, added: “The mast is proposed in an area that currently has outstanding views and a great diversity of wildlife.

“Both will be affected by the erection of the mast that is only being built as a precursor to a planned wind farm.”

REG Windpower has turbines in Turves and Whittlesey, in Fenland, and Ramsey, in Huntingdon.

The company says the turbines could, on average, provide enough safe, clean renewable energy to power about 4,500 homes.

And, in addition, it is proposing to set up a ‘community fund’ worth £36,000 a year to support good causes and community projects throughout the life of the wind

farm – expected to last about 25 years.

The Environment Agency, environmental health and county highways departments, meanwhile, confirmed they had no objections to the plans.

The Civil Aviation Authority added that it had no specific concerns about the plans but did request that the guy wires supporting the mast be fitted with orange markers to make them visible to passing craft.

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