Published: June 11, 2010
150 residents flock to wind farm meeting over controversial scheme

There was standing room only when almost 150 residents filled a public meeting in West Huntspill on Thursday evening (June 10th) to air their views on controversial proposals to build a new wind farm.

West Huntspill's Balliol Hall was full to capacity, as pictured here, for the meeting to discuss Ecotricity's proposals to construct five new wind turbines on the outskirts of the village.

Emotions ran high several times during the two hour meeting, when those in favour of the scheme verbally clashed with opponents while explaining their views in front of Jane Moreton, Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council, and County Councillor Mark Healey.

Campaigner Roger Lucken outlined why he opposes the "very inefficient" scheme, explaining: "At best, these wind turbines are only ever 25 per cent efficient, so to produce the same power as Hinkley Point we'd need almost 10,000 of them to be built here. That shows how little power they actually generate."

"They would also be incredibly out of keeping here. At 120 metres tall, the turbines would be six times the height of Woolavington Church and as the rotors are 80 metres in diameter, they would sweep the area of a football pitch."

He went on to claim how the proposed wind farm would cause "enormous damage" to the flood plain with respect to wildlife and added that the constant low frequency noise emitted by the turbines, measuring 60-65 decibels, would be "noticed by residents like a constant fog horn."

Several residents in the audience, however, spoke in favour of the scheme.

Julian Peter said: "I can't understand why so much fuss is being made about this when Hinkley Point is just across the bay and is a potential ticking time bomb that if something happened would have a far greater impact on us all."

And a young member of the audience spoke up to say: "Give the wind farm a chance - don't just say 'no' automatically without properly considering the scheme. I'd like to see us keeping an open mind on it and testing the height and sound to check its affects."

County Councillor Mark Healey, who chaired the meeting, said he expects a planning application for the scheme to be formally submitted to Sedgemoor District Council "very shortly."

Ecotricity recently told that if the plans are approved, the wind farm would generate enough electricity to power over 7,810 homes and save over 11,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Our photos show the scenes inside the hall at Thursday's public meeting and the map above shows the spot where Ecotricity wants to build the wind farm

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