Windfarm protest gets powerful backing

An influential countryside pressure group has joined in a campaign to stop developers building a windfarm on the edge of a Norfolk village.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has joined local efforts to stop a windfarm being built on the edge of a Norfolk village.

It says the proposed wind turbines at Hempnall would damage a beautiful part of the countryside it dubs the heart of rural Norfolk, and destroy an area to be included in its national rural tranquillity campaign.

Norfolk-based Enertrag UK wants to build seven turbines, each 130m tall, and is engaged in a public consultation process with villagers. A planning application will not be submitted until the end of the year.

Opponents to the renewable-energy scheme welcomed the backing of their campaign by the CPRE.

But it came on the day that government figures revealed wind-farms capable of producing the equivalent of 11 gigawatts of environ-mentally-friendly energy were being delayed by planning disputes.

The number of windfarms in planning limbo is equal to 8pc of UK electricity supply, or more than the output of the UK's biggest coal-fired power station, Drax in North Yorkshire.

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Since May last year, only five of 21 windfarms up before local authority planning committees have been approved.

As a result, the chances are diminishing of the UK meeting its pledge to have 10pc of electricity powered by renewable energy - and thereby helping in the battle against climate change - by 2010.

Hilary Battye, spokesman for Hempnall pressure group Showt, said: "These gigantic wind station structures will not only ruin the local landscape but will also seriously damage the precious amenity of Hempnall's rural tranquillity."