Proposed wind turbine outside Dereham raises concerns over farming, aviation and landscape

PUBLISHED: 09:25 17 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:26 17 July 2014

North Tuddenham cattle farmer Ron Smith says he may be forced out of business if plans for a 78-metre wind turbine are approved on a neighbouring field. Picture: Ian Burt

North Tuddenham cattle farmer Ron Smith says he may be forced out of business if plans for a 78-metre wind turbine are approved on a neighbouring field. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

A planned 78-metre wind turbine on agricultural land east of Dereham has generated a storm of opposition, with concerns including the possible effects on farm animals and dangers to aircraft.

Energy company EDP wants to build the turbine, a sub-station, vehicle access tracks, a crane pad and a construction compound on an area of privately-owned land off Bush Lane, near North Tuddenham.

More than 60 letters of objection have been submitted to Breckland Council, with concerns including the impact on the rural landscape, noise and shadow flicker, devaluation of nearby properties and the effect on wildlife, particularly the owls and bats in neighbouring woodland.

North Tuddenham Parish Council’s response says 39 members of the public attended a meeting on July 8 and “everyone present objected without exception”.

But the applicant’s planning statement maintains the impact of the turbine would be “generally be of a low level” and that the site “possesses the right characteristics for a wind turbine development and the wind resource to enable the generation of renewable energy.” The proposed turbine site is 50m from the western boundary of Abbotts Farm, on Mill Road, North Tuddenham.

Nearby farmer Ron Smith said if the plan was approved it could “ruin” his business, as he was worried about the effect on his 330-strong herd of cattle – particularly his 170 dairy cows.

He said: “Being so close to it, with the noise and the flicker effect, my concern is whether we can still continue to milk cows and breed cattle under one of these things. Will it frighten the animals? Will it affect their fertility?

“I have got to fight this thing because it will ruin my home and my business. I don’t know if compensation is available, we’ve not got that far down the road yet, but for a place like this, if we were going to be a third down, it would be substantial.”

Charlotte Mayes, a veterinarian who lives nearby on Clippings Green and used to tend to Mr Smith’s cattle, said: “Anything that stresses a dairy cow will affect milk yield and conception rates as well.

“The impact of infrasound and shadow flicker have been researched much more in New Zealand, where there are more wind turbines, and the effects on the productivity of dairy cows is well documented.”

An objection has also been registered by Norwich International Airport, which says the proposed turbine would have a clear line of sight from the airport’s primary surveillance radar (PSR) and would therefore be likely to show a return identical to an aircraft.

A letter from the airport’s safeguarding co-ordinator says an Aviation Operational Impact Assessment on the proposal is under way, in consultation with the developer, but until it is completed the proposal could only be considered “with regard to overall aviation safety”.

On that basis, the letter says: “We find that it conflicts with national and international safeguarding requirements and that it presents a hazard to the safe operation of aircraft in the vicinity of Norwich International Airport.”

According to a planning statement, submitted by EDP’s agent Turley, the landowner – who runs the Dereham-based agricultural business Bunting and Sons – would lease an area of the site to the energy firm, who will fund the wind turbine if permission is granted.

The statement says: “Assessment work has demonstrated that the effects of the development will generally be of a low level, with very few significant effects, all of which are time limited due to the temporary nature of the wind turbine development which is to be limited to 25 years.

“The scale of these effects is considered to be substantially outweighed by the development’s benefits. The development will provide up to 500kW of clean, renewable energy, making a valuable contribution to Breckland’s renewable energy provision.”

The planning statement also says assessments had confirmed “that the development will not have unacceptable impacts as a result of shadow flicker”. It says: “Should shadow flicker become a concern, modern wind turbines can be controlled at the periods when shadow flicker has the potential to occur and can be inhibited for those properties affected for the specific times of day and on specific days of the year when shadow flicker can occur.”

Despite the concerns over nature and wildlife, there have been no objection from the Environment Agency, from Breckland’s ecological and biodiversity consultant, or from Natural England which says there is “not likely to have a significant effect” on areas including the Badley Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).


  • wind power working at sea along side them has shown them to be a wast of time at sea to costly in maintenance and fossil fuels on fast boats etc they only work with government money.Proper planing there is a place on land there are more issues than people know.

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    Dave Chambers

    Saturday, July 19, 2014

  • Paul Hoggett

    Saturday, July 19, 2014

  • May I suggest those that shout nimby ism do some research. These turbines are non viable without the massive tax payers subsidy for a start - many of the companies have already gone bust - see the de commissioned turbines laying in fields around Wisbech. Protected wildlife habitats will be destroyed and perhaps they should check out the university of cambs paper which concludes that by 2030 there will be an acute shortage of food producing farmland in the uk - not enough to feed the population! Food or heat???

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    Friday, July 18, 2014

  • The standard typical shallow minded short sighted NIMBYS,let's wait till the oil and gas run out shall we?

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    Paul Hoggett

    Friday, July 18, 2014

  • Not ignorant NIMBY bleating...... Just misguided and alarmist Greenies who have driven everyone's electricity bill up by providing HUGE subsidies to wind's time for the MAJORITY of us to to say a big NO to the vociferous minority and face reality...... There is no climate change... Our Grandparents called it weather!

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • I'm completely against a wind turbine. Obviously we need electricity to live so I think a Nuclear or coal fired would be best. It might ruin the landscape more than a wind turbine, drain all our small rivers of water, give us all cancer and cause Farmer Smith's cows to be born with an extra hoof, but at least it would be out the way in one planning attempt rather than needing to listen to this **** in the news every time someone objects to a single windmill. But as Breckland Council don't like progress and development we will all be reading by candlelight when we are forced in to blackout by the NIMBYs.

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Energy Company EDP ? Should that not read EDF ? Abv is fine if all the readers know what it means ?

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • I am all for windfarms even if they spoil a view, if they worked. They do not, or at least are nowhere near as efficient as the greeny nonsense politics try to make out. There may be a case for taking the sting out electricity bills on a local basis perhaps but on a large scale reliable supply to the national grid wind farms are an enormous corrupt costly joke.

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    John Bridge

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Usual ignorant NIMBY bleating.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, July 17, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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