Wind farm worry for TV viewers

PLANS for nine wind turbines near Beccles could cause television interference in nearly 6,000 homes in the area, a group objecting to the proposals has claimed.

PLANS for nine wind turbines near Beccles could cause television interference in nearly 6,000 homes in the area, a group objecting to the proposals has claimed.

Renewable energy company Stamford Renewables has submitted plans to build three groups of three turbines at Devonshire Farm and Granary Farm, both in Ringsfield, and Laurels Farm in Barsham.

There has been strong local opposition to the scheme and a campaign group called HALT has been formed to fight the plans.

A HALT spokesman said it had fed map co-ordinates for the wind turbines supplied by Mike Stamford, chief executive of Stamford Renewables, into a wind farm assessment tool service offered by the BBC and Ofcom.

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The tool, which is provided for the guidance of wind farm developers, provides a rough estimate of the population that may suffer interference to their television services from a wind farm built at the location specified.

The HALT spokesman said the group was “shocked” to find the service predicts that 5707 homes could be affected.

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“This will impact on virtually all residents in the area who receive terrestrial TV signals. It should be thoroughly investigated, as recommended by the BBC and Ofcom,” the spokesman said.

“Following this full technical assessment, any remedial measures, and who is to pay for them, must be agreed before there can be any question of considering these applications.

“If the solution is to install satellite dishes, this is going to cause particular problems in the Beccles conservation area and for those viewers in listed buildings.”

But Mr Stamford said on Wednesday that if there were any problems they would be put right.

He said: “I recognise fully that it is a potential problem. The potential for adverse effects is limited to terrestrial televisions only. A lot of people do not use terrestrial television any more and analogue transmission will be replaced by digital in 2011.

“There is a possibility that if you have an old fashioned analogue television you will get some adverse effect on your reception, but I have made it clear to planners that if this happens to anyone we will buy a set top box for them.

“As far as we are concerned it isn't a problem. We will give them whatever alternative is required. We are committed to making sure nobody loses out because the turbines are being put up.”

Earlier this month about 200 people attended a public meeting in Beccles to find out more about the proposals.

Waveney District Council has extended the consultation period for the proposed development until the end of this month after the applicant was late in submitting the necessary documents.

The district council is provisionally targeting the applications for consideration at its development control meeting next month.

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