Campaigners fighting controversial plans for a major wind farm on the outskirts of Burnham-On-Sea have this week attacked the developer’s proposals to introduce a new community fund.
As first reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com last week, Broadview Energy has submitted a formal planning application to build four 130 metre tall wind turbines – each as tall as Brent Knoll – at Pilrow Farm adjacent to the M5, between Rooksbridge and Mark.
The NoPilrow campaign group, which is opposed to the scheme, has said this week it is committed to fighting the plans and has huge support behind it.
David Maund, the group’s spokesman, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We have had plenty of time to prepare for Broadview Energy’s planning application and have gained far-reaching support from the local community. It is now clear that the vast majority of the community is against the Pilrow Wind Farm and this fact will be reflected in the large number of objections to the planning application.”
NoPilrow has attacked proposals by Broadview to launch a community fund that will see cash being allocated to local groups.
Mr Maund explained: “Broadview claims that should planning permission be granted a community fund would be established and it is stated that each year for 25 years, the community would receive £2,500 per installed MW, totalling between £500,000 and £750,000 over the lifetime of the wind farm.”
“What Broadview fail to mention is that, over the lifetime of the wind farm, they would receive a potential £26 million in subsidies, paid by consumers. Suddenly the community fund does not look so generous.”
“It must be remembered that if the wind farm was constructed and the parish of Rooksbridge and East Brent blighted by these industrial monstrosities, the community fund would most likely be distributed amongst several surrounding villages. Thus, per capita, the community fund would amount to very little.”
“At Broadview’s earlier sites, they would not enter into a legal agreement with the community with respect to the community fund. Should the wind farm become unprofitable, what would happen to the community fund? Broadview have already answered that question. However, if the site did become commercially unviable and is decommissioned, the payments would obviously cease.”
“We know that Broadview has disposed of three of its sites. What would happen to the community fund? Again Broadview has answered the question – if the project is sold, Broadview expects that the new owners will wish to continue to support the community in the same way that Broadview has. Should the Pilrow wind farm be approved, do we the local residents trust Broadview – or to whoever Broadview sells – to honour their commitment to the community fund?”
NoPilrow claimed this week that Broadview has “deceived” residents. Mr Maund said: “From day one, it has been evident that local residents have been deceived. Broadview Energy professes to having conducted ‘wide reaching consultation exercises’, but this is totally untrue, as we have not heard from them for months. They are now just intent on gaining planning permission so that they can sell off the Pilrow Wind Farm for a fat profit, as recently evidenced by Broadview disposing of three of their other sites.”
“Over the coming days NoPilrow will be informing the local community of how they can have their democratic say and put an end to this constant attack on the people of East Brent, Rooksbridge and the surrounding villages.”
Broadview says the four wind turbines would generate enough green electricity for approximately 5,300 households and claims it has undertaken extensive consultation.