Last chance to comment on Woolavington wind farm

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First published in News Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Photograph of the Author by

A PROJECT to build a wind farm in Woolavington has received objections from five parish councils and letters from more than 200 people.

EDF Energy Renewables re-submitted its planning application for a wind farm after Sedgemoor District Council turned down its previous attempt at a five turbine scheme near Puriton in April 2012.

People have just three days left to comment on the fresh application for five 126-metre turbines on land at Withy End, Causeway, Woolavington, which was submitted just before Christmas 2013.

The new scheme received over 200 letters from the public, with the majority objecting to the project.

Jane Moreton, councillor for West Huntspill and Pawlett, wrote: "We have met our renewable energy target , mainly with our applications for solar renewable energy. While I agree we should do everything we can to encourage renewable energy, this should not be to the detriment of local people, our lovely landscape, or to wildlife.

"These inefficient, eye-catching turbines are not what we want in our landscape. Please respect the views of our local people."

Woolavington Parish Council said the turbines would have a "detrimental impact upon the environment and scenic quality of the area", adding, "there would be a cumulative detrimental impact" if this project and a separate wind farm at West Huntspill gets planning permission.

An application by Ecotricity for four 120m turbines on land south of Poplar Farm, West Huntspill, was rejected by Sedgemoor councillors April 2012, but the developer has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

Other councils which have objected include: West Huntspill Parish Council, on the grounds of 'adverse environmental impact'; East Huntspill Parish Council, due to the "potential loss of tourism through such intrusion into the countryside"; Pawlett Parish Council due to "nuisance to the local community as a consequence of noise emissions, shadow flicker and light pollution" and Cossington Parish Council.

If built, EDF says the project would generate 10MW of renewable energy to feed into the national grid.

Dennis Garry, Onshore Wind Development Manager for EDF Energy Renewables, said: “Even though the plans may not have changed a great deal, we wanted to take the opportunity to re-consult the community on the revised application and to answer any questions.

“We continue to believe the site is an excellent location for the size of wind farm proposed.

"The fact that the council’s own planning officer recommended our original application for approval demonstrates the project has merit.”

The scheme is not the first renewable energy project in the area. An application by Wessex Solar Energy for a 7MW solar farm made up of 33,000 panels on fields between Woolavington and East Huntspill was granted planning permission in October 2013.

At the time, Wessex Solar Energy said the solar farm would have “relatively localised impacts when compared to a project such as a wind farm, which can be seen over many miles.”

To comment on the Woolavington wind farm application find it on Sedgemoor's planning website with the code 54/13/00023.

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