COUNTRYSIDE campaigners are gearing up for battle against a second wind farm in the Hampshire Downs.

Energy firm TCI has applied to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for permission to put six 130-metre tall turbines at Woodmancott, near Micheldever.

It comes just months after a planning application from energy giant EDF Energy Renewables for a wind farm at nearby Bullington Cross, north of Winchester.

The Campaign For the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has warned the giant turbines will spoil the Hampshire Downs and could put the wider countryside at risk by setting a precedent.

They estimate the Woodmancott turbines – which will be taller than Big Ben – will be visible for 20 miles around.

Peter Bedford, chairman of CPRE Hampshire, said: “With this and another major wind farm application already pending at neighbouring Bullington Cross, we are witnessing the potential proliferation of industrial scale development in beautiful, unspoilt Hampshire countryside.”

Protestors have launched a “SOS Save Our Scenic Hampshire Downland” campaign to protest against the plans.

But energy companies say wind turbines are important source of renewable energy. New sources of energy are needed to replace coal and nuclear plants which are closing.

Wind farms also have the support of green groups, including Winchester Action On Climate Changes, who argue they will reduce carbon emissions.

The deadline for public comments on the Woodmancott turbines has been extended to August 14.