Village meeting to discuss wind turbine

The green-energy champion behind Norfolk's first offshore windfarm has unveiled plans to build a 130m wind turbine in his own village. Father-of-three Andy Hilton has invited families in Catfield, near Yarmouth, to a meeting in the village hall at 7pm on Friday to explain his vision for a turbine - on a similar scale to the ones in Swaffham - providing enough energy for 1,100 homes.

The green-energy champion behind Norfolk's first offshore windfarm has unveiled plans to build a 130m wind turbine in his own village.

Father-of-three Andy Hilton has invited families in Catfield, near Yarmouth, to a meeting in the village hall at 7pm on Friday to explain his vision for a turbine - on a similar scale to the ones in Swaffham - providing enough energy for 1,100 homes.

Mr Hilton, 48, who oversaw the construction of the 30-turbine Scroby Sands windfarm, off Yarmouth, while working as project manager for ODE, has since set up his own company, Wind Power Renewables, and aims to build a number of onshore windfarms around East Anglia, including the one in Catfield.

He took out a two-page advert in the last parish magazine to outline his plans for the £2.5m scheme which he hopes could be built, "generating clean, green energy in the village for the village" within two years.

However one resident, Mike Crowther, has produced his own leaflet criticising the project and distributing it via the village shop.

Highlighting the fact that the top of the blades would be 7½ times higher than Catfield church, Mr Crowther claims the project would amount to "industrial desecration of a rural landscape on a gigantic scale".

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Mr Hilton described the reaction of most villagers as "incredibly positive". He said: "As a nation we are struggling to meet our power- generation needs and we have got to develop other forms of electricity. I am doing this for the kids and their future."

He has lodged a planning application with North Norfolk District Council for a 70m met mast to test wind potential on the site of the old Bailey's greenhouses.

He hopes that within six months to a year he will have sufficient data to seek funding from a bank and move on to the next stage of approaching turbine manufacturers.