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Anger at 'big' turbine plans

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: June 19, 2012

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OPPOSITION is mounting against plans to erect what could become the largest wind turbine on the Blackdown Hills.

John Hawker hopes to win permission from Mid Devon District Council to install the 34m green energy generator at Highlands Farm, Hemyock.

The council has received around 120 letters from the public with only one in support of the proposal.

Lisa Turner, planning officer for the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), said: "We are supportive of small scale renewable energy schemes, provided there is no conflict with the special qualities of the hills.

"At 34m this turbine would fall into the 'medium category' and is the largest turbine application in the AONB to date."

The 50kw turbine costing around £250,000 with a blade diameter of around 63ft will power Mr Hawker's growing meat and poultry business if permission is given.

Mr Hawker said: "According to our supplier, it will be very quiet and you will hardly be able to hear it. We have got to these days whether people like it or not, get our energy from somewhere and if we can produce green energy, it has to be the way forward," added Mr Hawker, who said the Government class the turbine as 'small'. Mr Hawker's agent Tristan Tonks, of Energy Descent Ltd, said many shorter wind turbines do not work properly.

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  • blackdowns  |  June 29 2012, 8:59PM

    what a misleading article! Mr Hawker doesn't actually farm at the site anyway - he is a landscape gardener, and lets the chicken houses out. The turbine isn't being paid for by him, he's just being paid by an investment company to have it on his land. He'll be paid somewhere between £6,000 and £10,000 a year to inflict this upon the residents and users of the surrounding area. This has nothing to do with being green, nothing to do with reducing his electricity bill, it is solely because the agent came along trying to seduce local landowners with a big juicy amount of money. Sadly although some of the landowners have morals, some are too greedy to resists. The AONB quotation above is very selective. It goes on to state that "medium category" turbines are in general not generally suitable in the AONB. The proposed turbine is of a particularly noisy design (it is a downwind type, and has a gearbox, and is far larger than anything else ever approved in the AONB), and will be heard clearly for some distance around, certainly at the nearest houses, and from the road and common land which are popular with dog walkers, horse riders, cyclists, people enjoying the (current) tranquility of the area. How on earth this planning application even needs considering in an AONB is beyond belief.

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  • Aeolus  |  June 19 2012, 7:56PM

    Blocks of flats are more efficient (and profitable) than cottages, that doesn't mean we should accept them in valued tourist landscapes.

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  • Stork  |  June 19 2012, 12:26PM

    It would be interesting to know what Mr. Hawker's current (sorry) electricity bill is. An investment of £250,000 is a lot of money. What's the payback period, or, is Mr. Hawker going to sell some of his wind generated electricity back to the public ? Who knows, there might be more money in selling electricity, rather than selling chickens ! I expect that's all been calculated. Mr. Hawker.......?

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  • 2ladybugs  |  June 19 2012, 10:37AM

    Yes I know , let's find all the beauty spots and then dessimate them by sticking up pug-ugly wind turbines. Doesn't matter that they are ineffiecient white elephants. But heigh-ho all the energy consumers and tax payers can subsidise them. Of course we can carry on importing energy from other countries at double the price it's only the consumers again that have to pay for it.

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