A NEW community organisation has been set up to negotiate a deal to own part of a proposed wind farm in north Hampshire.

Volunteers from Winchester Action on Climate Change and the Andover and Basingstoke Transition Networks have joined forces to create Hampshire Energy Group, with the aim of agreeing a 10 per cent ownership of the proposed EDF Energy Renewables wind farm at Bullington Cross, near the junctions of the A34 and A303.

EDF has submitted a planning application to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Winchester City Council and Test Valley Borough Council to build 14 turbines on a site that comprises open arable farmland interspersed with areas of woodland.

Martin Heath, a spokesman for the new group, said: “This is a great opportunity for local people to take an ownership stake in what will be one of Hampshire’s largest renewable energy developments.”

Hampshire Energy Group intends to become a ‘co-operative’, based on other successful community energy ownership schemes in the UK, which allow people to invest in, and become members of, the organisation.

Tina Lewis, also a member of the group, said: “We firmly believe that no technology can be purely ‘green’ as every source of energy has costs and benefits associated with it.

“We just need to ensure that the benefits are shared out fairly. Often it is the local community that take the costs and the inconvenience whilst the developers take the benefit. With community ownership, benefits are shared more fairly.”

Mr Heath added: “Our proposed co-operative will make us all investors in wind-farming, influencing how it is run, allowing us to make our own electricity locally and reducing our reliance on imported gas, oil and coal.”

The proposed co-operative will allow people to invest in the wind farm and to receive a fair return on that investment.

Additional money made will be invested back into the community, with all members voting on how the funds are used.

It is hoped that the money will help schools, churches and voluntary groups install free renewable energy systems.

For more information about the proposed co-operative, visit hampshire-energy.co.uk.