CAMPAIGNERS are gearing up to fight proposals for a controversial wind farm north of Winchester.
Keep Hampshire Green is opposing plans for 14 wind turbines up to 126 metres tall from “scarring the landscape” at Bullington Cross.
EDF Energy Renewables is poised to submit planning applications to Winchester, Test Valley and Basingstoke councils as the proposed site crosses three district council boundaries.
At a meeting in Victoria Hall in Sutton Scotney last Saturday (Jan 13), Douglas Paterson, chairman of Keep Hampshire Green, said: “People think of Bullington Cross as a dual carriageway and traffic junction with a scrapyard on it but that is not the case.”
The diary farmer showed photos of rolling chalk downland which he said had remained unchanged since novelist Jane Austen walked from Steventon to Hurstbourne Priors.
“It has a quality of tranquillity that is very fragile and very easily destroyed.”
There were gasps as he showed a slide of a barrage balloon the protest group is flying at 126 metres high over a field in Wonston to demonstrate the height of the proposed turbines.
Mr Paterson said: “It is five or six times the height of trees on the horizon.”
Protestors say the turbines would be visible from as far afield as Winchester, Salisbury and even Southampton as the site is on high downland.
Mr Paterson said letters of objection to district councils should focus on planning issues, including impact on the landscape, nearby homes, ecology, noise, footpaths and bridleways.
EDF Energy claims the wind farm would have a capacity of 28 MW and capable of providing enough clean electricity to meet the average annual consumption of over 13,000 households. It would also reduce carbon emissions.
But Mr Paterson said it would produce at best less than one per cent of coal-powered Didcot Power Station which is set to close – and 230 wind farms the size of Bullington would needed to replace it.
Keep Hampshire Green argues the main benefits would be to the developer and the land owner who could reap millions in government subsidies for wind energy.
They argue public money would be better invested in green alternatives, including tidal energy as is already happening on the Isle of Wight.