Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Villagers vote to go ahead with wind turbine 'taller than Truro Cathedral'
10 Oct 2012

Campaigners squeezed a narrow victory in the first round of their fight to build a 76 metre (249ft) wind turbine in a Cornish village. The Low Carbon Ladock co-operative and Green Trust CIC are the two groups behind the bid to build the community-owned turbine on farm land east of New Mills at Ladock, near Truro. They believe the 500 800kW structure will power around a third of the electricity used each year by homes and businesses in the parish. At least £30,000 per year would also be generated for the local community according to the organisations.

Before planning permission can be submitted to Cornwall Council the co-operative and Green Trust CIC, a community energy company based in Cornwall wanted to test public support. Some 633 questionnaires were sent out to households in Ladock and neighbouring Grampound Road-308 were returned to independent market research company, PFA Research. Of those returnees, 56% were in favour of the turbine, 42% against and 2% declined to answer the question. Overall, 27% of households responded with a yes, 20% with a no, while 52% failed to respond.

Chris Jones chairman of Low Carbon Ladock said he was pleased the required amount of support had been garnered. He said: "The co-operative were quite clear that if we did not achieve a 55% yes vote then we would not even submit the planning application. "It is great to have passed that benchmark, meaning that we can now move forward to the planning process, but we must remember that it is the planning system that will really determine whether the community turbine will go ahead.

"We would have liked more returns as we want the whole community to be engaged, however, what is encouraging is that one in two households in the area participated in the consultation. "We know there are concerns from people who live near the proposed site, but we looked across the parish for a suitable site and are confident the one chosen is the best possible location to have a community turbine of significant scale".

Local resident Richard Conybeare, who lives at Ladock, said he was opposed to the turbine being erected in the village. He said: "While I am all for renewable energy and back a lot of what Low Carbon Ladock co-operative do, I don't believe such a huge structure is suitable in our village. "We're talking about building something that's two feet taller than Truro Cathedral".