July 23, 2006

Wind farm developer ‘moves proposed Burnham turbines at 11th hour’

The group fighting plans for a wind farm on the outskirts of Burnham-On-Sea claimed on Sunday (July 23rd) that Ecotricity, the developer behind the scheme, has submitted 11th hour amendments to its planning application.

Andrew Manning, spokesperson for the KNOll to Windfarm action group told Burnham-On-Sea.com that the developer has moved the proposed wind turbines away from the railway line because such a location would have “broken government guidelines.”

Mr Manning explained: “We are surprised at this amendment to the application; we recall that Ecotricity’s Chief Executive commented in the press at the time of the application being submitted that it ‘is a very robust one and can and will meet any criticism thrown at it’.

How the wind farm would look next to the railway line [Photomontage: Ecotricity]“Since then, Ecotricity has had to submit additional details about access, and now has been forced to move the proposed location further away from the railway lines as the original location of the turbines contravened Government policies and presented a serious safety risk to the West Coast main line.”

“We also recall that Ecotricity had misquoted a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on its website – which it amended when we pointed this out – and has also been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for claims it made about another of its developments.”

“This leads us to worry how professional the developer actually is, and whether there is anything else that Ecotricity has omitted, forgotten, or needs to change in its application. Clearly, Ecotricity has its own interpretation of what ‘robust’ means.”

“We are also puzzled at the need to move the potential location; surely if these turbines are as robust a structure as claimed then there can be no danger of collapse if they are located, as originally proposed, closer to the railway lines? What about the danger to public rights of way, houses, village facilities, and the local school?”

“Surely this revision to the application is a tacit admission of risk? Either that, or is an act of expediency to remove an objection from Network Rail. Again, this would not fill us full of confidence. No doubt Sedgemoor’s planning department and planning committee will be as perplexed and concerned as we are.”

Ecotricity was not available for comment on Sunday.

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