MP opposes Norfolk wind farm plans

Adam Gretton A MP called for balance between the drive for renewable energy and needs of rural communities yesterday as he opposed a wind farm development in south Norfolk.

Adam Gretton

AN MP called for balance between the drive for renewable energy and needs of rural communities yesterday as he opposed a windfarm development in south Norfolk.

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, said there was a place for onshore wind power, but not in sensitive areas of the countryside.

Speaking at a planning inquiry into a seven-turbine scheme at Hempnall, the Tory MP said the challenge of climate change was not a good enough reason to approve developments in the rural landscape.

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Mr Bacon's comments came towards the end of Enertrag UK's appeal into the refusal of a windfarm scheme at Bussey's Loke last year.

The plans by the Diss-based green energy company were unanimously rejected by South Norfolk Council because of the impact on the character of the area.

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Highways Agency and Norwich International Airport objections have since been overcome.

Mr Bacon yesterday told planning inspector David Lavender that the proposed development was "totally inappropriate" for Hempnall and the district council was "absolutely right" to refuse planning permission.

He added that turbine developments on industrial land, like the three approved masts at Lotus Cars in Hethel, seemed "more appropriate".

"The guiding principle for my approach to any development issue is one of balance.

"We need more alternative energy sources and I accept fully that we require a diverse energy mix to see us through the years ahead and to make sure that Britain's lights stay on.

"However, I simply do not accept what appears to be Enertrag's position: that the challenge of climate change means that we are always required to accept giant onshore industrial wind turbines in sensitive rural landscapes."

The plans received more than 600 letters of objection and 62 in support last August.

Mr Bacon added: "In this case, I agree with both the council and the overwhelming majority of local residents that industrial wind turbines that are 125metres tall, seven times taller than St Margaret's Church in Hempnall, would indeed inflict harm on a very significant scale."

The Hempnall planning inquiry is expected to conclude today.

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