Plans For 12-Metre Wind Turbine in Witchford

PLANS for a new 12-metre wind turbine in Witchford have led to calls for the council to bring an end to confusion surrounding the machines with a clear turbine policy. Members of the district council planning committee were due to meet yesterday (Wednesd

PLANS for a new 12-metre wind turbine in Witchford have led to calls for the council to bring an end to confusion surrounding the machines with a clear turbine policy.

Members of the district council planning committee were due to meet yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss whether they should give the go-ahead for a new wind turbine in Barton Close after previous plans were rejected in December.

The committee rejected the previous application due to the potential visual impact on neighbouring houses but the plans have since been resubmitted, sparking debate amongst residents and councillors alike about the future of turbines in the district.

Malcolm Sutton, who is planning to build the turbine, said: "I have had my application rejected by Witchford Parish Council twice and I haven't been unable to understand why.

"I think the Government and councils need to stop with all the 'ifs and buts' and create a clear policy for everyone to follow because I think councils are unsure about how to handle these applications.

"The Government and the councils are keen for everyone to be green and be sustainable so I think they need to help people with some clear guidelines."

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In the wake of the last rejection, Mr Sutton redesigned the plans and had the sizeable turbine moved 100ft further back in his garden in order to appease the council and neighbours' concerns.

Despite changing the plans though, some neighbours of Mr Sutton remained unhappy, and, in consultations with the council, a resident of Barton Close said they, "objected very strongly" to the plans, stating that it was "not really an area for a wind turbine."

Parish Cllr for Witchford, Ian Allen, said: "In principal I am pro the idea of environmentally friendly schemes like this and the Fens have a long history of using wind power.

"In general though I think the council need to develop a clear policy for these sorts of smaller schemes especially in the coming years where I feel we will see more of these types of applications.

"At the moment we are just dealing with these applications without a framework for reference."

Concerns were also voiced by the parish council about whether to give permission to the turbine if it was going to be used to generate funds from any excess electricity it produced which could then be sold back to the National Grid.

Mr Sutton rejected the concerns however, saying: "The fact is if I didn't send the electricity back to the grid then I would have to pay out for two huge batteries which would then have to be disposed of every five years, something in itself which is not environmentally friendly."

A spokesman for East Cambs District Council said, "While we don't have a specific policy on wind turbines, we do encourage schemes which promote energy conservation.

"On a domestic level, we would like to see more people coming forward with renewable energy projects as long as there is no visual impact and neighbours aren't affected by the plans."

What do you think? Should the council be making it easier for people to go green with wind turbines? Send your thoughts to Ely Standard 38 Market Street, Ely, CB7 4LS.

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