Published: July 20, 2010
Villagers told wind turbine shadows 'would create danger on M5'

A proposed wind farm that could be built next to the M5 motorway near Burnham-On-Sea would "create long, moving shadows across the carriageways", causing confusion to motorists and raising the risk of accidents, a leading wind farm protester told a packed meeting on Tuesday evening (July 20th).

More than 130 worried villagers filled West Huntspill Village Hall to air their concerns at the plans to build nine wind turbines in West Huntspill and five others in East Huntspill, as shown here in a photomontage.

John Wakefield from the West Huntspill Action Group, pictured above, said the problem of 'shadow flicker', caused by moving wind turbines, would affect M5 motorists.

"The shadow flicker problem will be particularly dangerous along the M5 motorway at certain times of the day. Motorists not expecting to find moving shadows around them may well swerve to avoid them," he claimed. "It would be very dangerous."

Using a map, he showed the audience where the proposed wind turbines would be situated in relation to the motorway and existing homes in the area.

He described how the huge turbines "would tower over the countryside, as high as Brent Knoll."

Mr Wakefield added: "The plans from EDF and Ecotricity show some of the wind turbines would be just a few hundred metres from our homes even though some countries, such as France, do not allow turbines to be built within three kilometres of homes due to the adverse affects they can have."

He went on to say that if each home in the two villages invested in solar panels, far more power would be created than all 14 wind turbines.

Mr Wakefield also discussed concerns about the "incessant thumping" sound that would be generated by the wind farm.

"The low frequency noise that the wind turnbines would create would go through windows and doors and constantly be there, causing sleeplessness and stress, as proven by sleep experts."

At Tuesday's meeting, Brian Cosby, the Chairman of East Huntspill's Action Group, (pictured below) also explained why there is so much concern about the proposals.

"These huge turbines would destroy our area, creating health problems through their incessant noise, putting off tourists, hitting house prices and affecting wildlife," he said.

"They should be sited somewhere where they don't damage our wonderful Somerset levels."

The meeting came as EDF this week announced that it is to hold a series of public exhibitions in the Burnham area as part of its consultation over its plans to develop its wind farm at Withy Farm.

The open meetings will be held in Burnham-On-Sea's Princess Hall from 2-8pm on Thursday August 12th, Puriton Village Hall from 11am-7pm on Monday August 2nd, and East Huntspill's New Village Hall from 10am-8pm on Tuesday August 3rd.

EDF claims its nine 2MW turbines would be capable of producing enough electricity to supply the annual requirements of over 10,000 homes and could lead to savings of at least 17,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Dennis Garry, EDF Energy Renewables’ Development Manager for the project, said: "Local opinion is very important to us and we would encourage anyone who has a question or is interested in the project to come along to discuss the plans with us."


Map showing location of EDF's wind turbines
Map showing location of Ecotricity's wind turbines


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