Councillor questions Clare wind turbine

James Sills was given planning permission to build a 78 metre high wind turbine in Chilton Street, Clare
James Sills was given planning permission to build a 78 metre high wind turbine in Chilton Street, Clare

Suffolk County Councillor Julian Flood has called for the planning permission given to the Clare wind turbine to be revised in light of permission being refused to the Haverhill turbine.

James Sills’ hopes to build a 78 metre high wind turbine in Nosterfield End were dashed by St Edmundsbury Council’s development control committee last Thursday (February 6), though Mr Sill had already been given permission for an equally controversial turbine in Chilton Street in April last year.

UKIP Cllr Flood, who opposed the turbine and subsidy received, and questions the projected energy outputs, has written to the committee chairman Cllr Jim Thorndyke to say the Clare decision should be recalled.

He said: “The overwhelming decision to reject the Nosterfield End turbine leaves the earlier Chilton Street application under a considerable amount of doubt.

“The same objections apply in both cases, and it is my opinion that the same errors were made in both assessments: the benefits were overstated; the amenity damage was underestimated; loss of property value was not considered and the damage to wildlife study was sketchy.

“I have received a reply from the DECC as to realistic capacity factors for turbines: the UK average is 28 per cent.

“This measurement includes many upland, large-scale turbines which will skew that figure to the high end. An area of poor wind resources, such as East Anglia, will be considerably less than this – my calculation of around 23 per cent is probably not far from the mark, but may well be on the high side.

“These machines would stand idle or turn reluctantly for nearly 80 per cent of the time.

“If proper regard is paid to the UK’s international treaty commitments, specifically the requirement to safeguard the rare barbastelle bat, then this figure will be even lower.

“The benefits of the Chilton Street turbine will be tiny, the damage great.

“The latest report on loss of value to proximate homes is another worry.

“Will St Edmundsbury be liable for those losses?

“Before a new decision is made the liability will have to be quantified.

“I urge you to consider whether the best course of action is to recall that decision and re-assess the balance of benefit to damage.

“If your committee does so I am sure that it will once again come to the obvious conclusion – Suffolk is not a sensible area for wind farm development.”

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (February 13) Echo.