Wind farm developer hopes to win round doubters

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A WIND farm developer has moved to reassure residents over its plans to build two turbines near their villages.

REG Windpower wants to build two masts on land off Steadfold Lane, Ketton, and has submitted a planning application to Rutland County Council.

The Ketton and Tinwell Action Group on Wind Turbines was formed to oppose the plans, but the company is hopeful it can win round any doubters.

The protest group is worried about the turbines interfering with emissions from the neighbouring Hanson Cement plant. But development manager Owen Saward said there was no need to be concerned.

He said: “A number of consultees have come back on the plans so far. English Heritage, Natural England and the Environment Agency raised no objections.

“The Environment Agency said the modelling we used for emissions was the right way of assessing it and they were satisfied there would be no impact on air quality.

“This is significant from our point of view as they were satisfied with the study itself and with the results.”

An independent 12-week study was carried out on the site, which combined emissions data from the cement works with a special wind speed computer model.

Mr Saward added that a great deal of research and preparation had gone into the site over the course of more than two years.

He said: “There are so many conditions we have to look at, such as radar, migrating bird routes, designated landscapes and physical constraints. Access to the site and connection to the grid are important too.”

REG has also undertaken a noise monitoring study, which found that the background noise of the cement works and the A1 would be higher than any noise generated by the turbines.

The company has held several public exhibitions on the plans and took villagers on a visit to a wind farm. It has also set up a website, at www.steadfoldlanewindfarm.co.uk

Mr Saward said: “In terms of public consultation and community engagement there are few other forms of development what would go to the lengths we have gone to. But you can never do too much and we are always available.”

Rutland MP Alan Duncan wrote to the company to ask that it reconsider its decision to not put a blimp up to show the height of the turbines and it has since said it will reconsider.

Mr Duncan said: “I still maintain that flying a blimp is the only way to gauge the impact of the proposals.

“I hope that common sense will prevail and the company will agree to this very reasonable request.”

The campaign has also caught the attention of Rutland MEP Derek Clark.

Mr Clark said: “I will support all and any protest groups, as I have already done in several areas across the East Midlands.

 “Residents have very real concerns about these plans with the close proximity of houses and of course, the cement works.

“Quite apart from that, let me be clear – wind turbines are useless.”