Wiltshire Publications

Westbury wind farm rules considered by inspector

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A LOBBYIST group who oppose the building of a local wind farm at Grange Farm, is claiming that comments made at a public meeting last week confirm Wiltshire’s unsuitability for wind power.

Wiltshire’s core policy relating to onshore wind turbines was discussed in the public examination meeting at the Civic Centre in Trowbridge.

Last June, Wiltshire Council approved an amendment of minimum distances which will be permitted between large wind turbines and dwellings in Wiltshire.

The amendment, along with other changes to the Wiltshire Core Strategy went to public consultation between September and 1st November last year.

Now, the Core Strategy for Wiltshire, including the amendment, is subject to scrutiny by an independent planning inspector appointed by the Government. The Examination in Public (EiP) must be conducted into the soundness of the Wiltshire Core Strategy.

The inspector, Andrew Seaman, is holding public meetings in May and June to consider the evidence he has received.

The first large-scale wind farm proposed for rural Wiltshire is near Trowbridge, at Grange Farm, which opponents of the plans say will have implications for residents around the Westbury area.  The proposal is for three 130m turbines.

Following last week’s meeting, the Stop Grange Farm Wind Farm group issued a statement saying that the wind industry body itself has now admitted that “Wiltshire is not suitable for large scale wind turbine projects.”

The meeting had heard from wind development industry lobbyist, Regen South West.

The anti wind farm group stated “a spokesperson for RegenSW said that Wiltshire’s wind resources were “adequate, but not high” and that Wiltshire as a county would be much better devoting its focus on other forms of renewable energy generation, such as solar and biomass, and on energy efficiency savings.

“Regen SW noted that to maximize the “OK but not the best” wind potential in Wiltshire, the very largest, colossal-scale wind turbines would be necessary.”

National guidance on onshore wind turbines is expected soon.   Final decisions on the Wiltshire distances are expected in the late autumn.