October 24 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 7, 2014
They have become a familiar sight, standing tall on top of Blood Hill - but 22 years after they started turning the wind turbines in West Somerton are being taken down.
Work to dismantle the 10-turbine wind farm at Bloodhills farm, which was one of the first to operate in the UK and the very first in Norfolk, got underway this week.
The 30ft tall turbines - which operators claim generated enough power to supply nearly 1,000 homes every year - are being removed to make way for two new turbines.The replacements will be located either side of Collis Lane and measure 45.5m from ‘ground to blade tip’.
Operator Burnley Energy Partnership LLP, which took over the site from EON in 2012, claim the more powerful and more efficient Turbowind T400 turbines will a total power output of 800KW, compared the current farm’s 2.25KW.
Before work to install the T400s starts in May, every trace of the Vesta turbines will be removed and the farmland on which they sit “restored to its former state”.
Speaking yesterday, as a decommissioning team began dismantling the first turbine, Paul Holmes-Ling of Burnley Energy and the Farm Energy Partnership said it will take about 10 days - removing one turbine day, weather permitting.
“The main reason for taking the 10 existing turbines down is really because they are 22 years old now,” said Mr Holmes-Ling.
“They are nearing the end of their life cycle and we can replace them with two much more efficient ones. The new ones are the same size as the ones being replaced; they are the same dimensions and will not be bigger. But yes, the view will be improved. It will make a difference to people who live locally.”
The new turbines are due to be installed in May, after all trace of the existing ones has been removed.
“We have to decommission everything else on site; the concrete bases will be broken up and the high voltage supply will be decommissioned. We have a schedule and we are aiming to have the turbines down by February 16, but it really does depend on the weather.”
The Blood Hill turbines have been operating since December 1992 when it took just under four months to build.
In 2000, the 65m tall Ecotricity turbine was built on neighbouring land at Coronation Farm.
Eric and Wendy Brown have lived in Hemsby Road, Martham, for 25 years and have a clear view of the wind farm from their lounge.
“I was very annoyed when it first went up,” said Eric, 69.
“I suppose we have got used to them. But I’m looking forward to having just the two, rather than 10, out there.”
The ‘repowering’ of the wind farm was granted permission in March last year.
At the time, Great Yarmouth Borough Council officers said: “The decommissioning of the current wind turbines will restore the site to its former state and in order for crop production to continue on site after decommissioning has taken place, the land will be reinstated as closely as practicable to its original condition.
“The visual impact is a principal concern as the site occupies an elevated position in relation to the surrounding countryside, permitting the projection of views over a relatively wide area. However, the reduction in the number of wind turbines on the site will reduce the overall impact of the wind farm in terms of visual impact on the landscape.
“The turbines will be finished in a light grey matt colour, chosen to blend into the landscape and reduce reflective glare.”
The council also noted the new turbines, 2.4 metres taller, would only be “marginally higher” than the existing ten.