Burnham-On-Sea’s pro-wind farm group, FORCE (Families For Clean Energy), has hit out at town planners’ decision to strongly object to the plans to build a wind farm on the outskirts of the town.
Spokeswoman Colette Winfield told Burnham-On-Sea.com after Tuesday’s decision by the town planning committe to reject the proposal: “We were very sorry to have missed our opportunity to speak in favour of the wind farm at Tuesday’s town planning committee meeting.”
“We clearly regret the decision of the council not to back the plans.”
“In the interests of balance, we would like to make councillors aware that there are many people in Burnham, Highbridge and Brent Knoll who are in favour of the wind farm (or at least not opposed to it), but their voices are not getting heard.”
“We also believe that information given out by Knoll to Wind (whose membership is restricted almost entirely to Brent Knoll) is misleading, one-sided, and often inaccurate.”
“Also, the scare tactics which they sometimes employ do not make for a rational and thoughtful debate. We are therefore trying to give a voice to local people who can see the benefits of this clean and sustainable energy source, or at least have an open mind.”
“Many of these people presently feel intimidated by the vociferous campaign against the wind farm.”
The group has also revealed its proposed response to Sedgemoor District Council regarding the application.
“We believe that this installation will make an important contribution to the government’s – and Somerset’s – targets for clean and renewable energy,” said Colette.
“We are confident that there is no impediment to the granting of planning permission for the installation. Objections raised by a local group in Brent Knoll are of no significance when tested against planning criteria.”
“The turbines are at a safe distance from habitation, shops, school, road and rail links. The turbines have a good safety record. The turbines produce very little noise. There is no significant proved danger to birds, bats or other wildlife.”
She continued: “The turbines will be on grazing land which can still be used as such. Being on the flood plain (Brent Marsh) it would be unsuitable for other uses such as housing. We would not favour the expansion of yet more caravan sites into the area which might be an eventual alternative proposition for the land.
“With regards to the economic impact, there is no evidence that wind farms have a negative impact on the local economy. Rather the reverse – as jobs will be created. We hope the Council will grant permission without delay.”
Ecotricity’s planning application is currently with Sedgemoor District Council and is set to be discussed at a special development control committee meeting on August 8th.