FenRATS protest against wind turbine plan at opening of inquiry
- Credit: Archant
A COMMUNITY group which raised £30,000 to provide legal support to stop a wind farm from being built protested in Wisbech today at the opening of an eight-day public inquiry.
Some 30 to 40 members of protest group FenRATS gathered outside the Boathouse, Wisbech, today to campaign against Wind Ventures Ltd who wants to build six 126-metre high turbines between Gorefield and Sutton St James.
Wind Ventures lodged an appeal after both Fenland District Council and South Holland District Council rejected their application last year.
FenRATS spokesman Michael Coleman said: 'We are expecting a big turnout.
'There were 68 people at the pre-inquiry and we are expecting double that this morning.
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'We believe we have a very strong case. This was turned down unanimously by both Fenland and South Holland councils.
'Their main reason was the effect it's going to have on properties close to the turbines, which will be dwarfed by them.
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'They will have a devastating effect on the landscape and change Fenland's character forever.
'We support renewable energy and have done our bit. We just think enough is enough.'
FenRATS have engaged the services of a barrister and experts to represent their interests, at an estimated cost of £30,000.
Mr Coleman said: 'Our campaign is costing a huge amount. We have got a barrister representing us and a team of expert witnesses fighting our corner.
'We are basically just a small community of ordinary people who don't have a lot of money but have pulled together.
'People are literally in tears about this. It will cause a huge amount of damage to the fabric of our community.'
Among those giving evidence at the inquiry will be NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay, South Holland MP John Hayes and East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer.
The inquiry will end on May 3 and a visit to the site, which crosses the boundaries of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, will take place the following week.
A final decision will be announced by the Planning Inspectorate on June 17.
FenRATS is a group of local community members driving a campaign to stop the proposed Treadings Bank Wind Farm development.
Their campaign literature says that 'we feel that establishing a wind farm at the Treading Bank site, with turbines higher than Coldham Wind Farm, would have an adverse affect on the immediate area, most notably the parishes of Tydd St Giles, Sutton St Edmund, Gorefield, Newton and Parson Drove.'
Councillor Steve Tierney, who spoke at a recent public meeting organised by FenRATs, said 'The turnout for the meeting was very good – particularly since we've been doing these for years now.
'You could almost wonder if the long time-span on such things were deliberately set to try and bleed the strength of resolve out of local people. Or perhaps that's overly paranoid.
'Anyway, it hasn't worked. Local people remain furious. Fingers crossed for a good result.'