Action groups speak out against wind farm plans near Whitchurch

THE wind farm plans were slammed by leaders of two action groups at a public meeting in Whitchurch.

Peter Bedford, chairman of the Hampshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Douglas Paterson, chairman of Keep Hampshire Green spoke to councillors from various town and parish councils at Whitchurch Town Hall.

Mr Bedford said: “CPRE’s view is that we are, in principle, supportive of renewable energy but not if it comes at the cost of destroying our lovely countryside. There has to be a balance.”

Mr Paterson said the only reason wind farms are viable is the cash subsidy the Government provides to build them. He said the turbines would be inactive for around a third of a year, because of a lack of wind, and that back-up power stations elsewhere still need to generate power.

He said: “We don’t believe this is green energy. There are many reasons why this is not green energy but the principle reason is it squanders one renewable source and that’s our landscape.”

Mr Paterson said the turbines would also affect property prices. He added: “The landscape here has barely changed since Jane Austen’s time...It’s fragile and precious and easily destroyed.”

Whitchurch councillor Linda Thomas pointed out that some people think the turbines are a “beautiful” addition to the landscape. But Mr Patterson responded: “People who feel they are beautiful have the assumption in their minds that this is green energy. But when they understand the figures and what it symbolises, which is big businesses sweeping up subsidies, then your aesthetic feelings for them may change.”

He encouraged councillors to inform residents about the plans, adding: “It’s still not on people’s radar.”

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