Norfolk windfarm plans spark protest

Anti-turbine protesters made their voice heard as revised plans to build a windfarm near a south Norfolk village went on public display for the first time.

Diss-based green energy firm Enertrag is looking to submit a planning application to build four 126m-high turbines at Hempnall, near Long Stratton.

A similar proposal by the company to construct seven turbines at the same site, off Bussey's Loke, was rejected by South Norfolk Council in 2008 and subsequently dismissed by a planning inspector at appeal.

Nearby residents were given a chance to look over the revised plans, including a 3D virtual tour of the windfarm, at Hempnall Village Hall yesterday where Enertrag represent-atives were on hand to answer questions. The company has also launched a new website where people can read about the development and leave their comments.

Enertrag claims the project, called Streetwood Windfarm, would generate enough renewable energy to power on average 4,413 homes. A fund of �16,000 a year would also be made available for local community projects.

Chris Bailey, project manager, said: 'We felt the previous scheme was acceptable but the planning inspector disagreed and we have to take those comments on board. But the inspector said there is no doubt that there is capacity for wind energy development on this site.

'We are in the final stages of preparing the application which we're looking to submit in the future. There is no submission date at the moment but what we have to do and what is most important is that we take on board people's comments from this exhibition and our website.'

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But Geoff Moulton, chairman of action group Stop Hempnall's Onshore Wind Turbines (SHOWT), whose members fought against the previous application and stood with protest placards outside yesterday's event, said: 'I'm quite cynical of Enertrag unveiling this as a consultation process. If everyone in there said we do not want this windfarm they would still apply.

'I've been really encouraged today – we have seen a huge level of support for us. People are against this and are more committed than ever. So far I think more than 90pc of the people here have been against the turbines.'

Exhibition visitor Sue Woodward, from Hempnall, said: 'I'm really, really disappointed that Enertrag have not listened to the views of the community. I'm quite disgusted and angry that we're here again. It makes no difference that there will be four turbines. It's still going to make a huge impact on the south Norfolk countryside.'

Fellow Hempnall resident Cliff Matthews added: 'I do not disapprove of them but why stick them near houses. You'd say that (the proposed windfarm site) is a field but why not put them in the sea? They don't generate enough power for their cost.'

For more information, visit www.streetwoodwindfarm.com