People power idea for town windfarm

Local people could profit from an eco-friendly scheme which would make a small market town carbon neutral. Mother of two and part-time teacher Hannah Blowers wants her community to do its bit to curb global warming by building three wind turbines in Beccles.

Local people could profit from an eco-friendly scheme which would make a small market town carbon neutral.

Mother-of-two and part-time teacher Hannah Blowers wants her community to do its bit to curb global warming by building three wind turbines in Beccles.

She is determined to realise her ambitious plans for the community turbines, which would generate both money and electricity for the town, and has found a suitable site for her proposal.

Her idea is to build a set of three 65m turbines on Devonshire Farm at Ringsfield Road, with the support of landowner Chris Povah.

Sites which have been suggested previously were found to be too close to Ellough airfield and would have interfered with the airstrip's landing path.

Mrs Blowers said: "I have two fantastic daughters and I have no wish to see them struggling with the effects of climate change in their lifetime, knowing I could have done more to prevent it."

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While the turbines would provide power for Beccles, Mrs Blowers recognised that it would be impossible to raise the money purely through investments from residents and suggested working with environmental company Mellinsus Renewables.

The company, which has a base in Norwich, would be backed by ethical bank Triodos to pay for, own and maintain the turbines. Repairs would be covered for a contract period of 25 years.

Local people would be given the opportunity to invest in the project and benefit financially. About £15,000 a year from the turbine's profits - the figure would rise in line with energy prices - would be paid into a community fund to spend on local projects.

At 65m, the turbines would be the same height as the smaller of the two Swaffham turbines and the one at West Somerton, near Yarmouth, which supplies power to 4,000 people. Depending on wind levels, the three turbines could power all the homes in Beccles.

The proposals were met with approval from members of the town council at its meeting on Tuesday night. Jack Walmsley said: "I think it is an excellent idea, and I think the council should support it in principle."

Brian Taylor added: "I have eight grandchildren, so the idea of being sustainable is important to me. I like wind turbines but I have heard that the output can be as low as 50pc so they might not be the most efficient green option."

The council voted unanimously to support the idea in principle, but Brian Woodruff said: "I think you are going to have problems with the community who have to live near the turbines. Although it is a good idea, there will be downsides."