Turbines take a new twist

PUBLISHED: 13:25 04 May 2007 | UPDATED: 22:46 28 May 2010

ONE of Fenland s biggest employers has been forced to re-apply for permission for three wind turbines after a planning mix-up. McCain s, the country s biggest producer of chips, says that inadvertently the planned position of one turbine was moved 50 me

ONE of Fenland's biggest employers has been forced to re-apply for permission for three wind turbines after a planning mix-up.

McCain's, the country's biggest producer of chips, says that "inadvertently" the planned position of one turbine was moved 50 metres without involving Fenland District Council.

Now the company must begin the whole planning process again, and has accompanied its application to Fenland planners with a 141-page environmental impact report.

The company, which employs nearly 500 people at Whittlesey, says the turbines are needed "to generate electricity for use on the site and further improve the environmental credentials of the company".

The company believes there is widespread local support for its proposals since a public meeting planned for its original application "was cancelled because there was no interest".

McCain's, in a statement to Fenland Council, says there are "no elements of the consultations that have been carried out that indicate a concern, or negative conclusion".

The statement adds that the site "interfaces at many levels with local people" and that "there is always an element of subjectiveness about visual impacts". Nevertheless, "these turbines are grouped to minimise their horizon take-up and many people are comfortable with their presence".

In contrast to roads, which are permanent, the turbines can be removed after 20 years "and their impacts are temporary".

Councillor Ken Mayor, chairman of Whittlesey Town Council, said his personal view was that the turbines were "all right". But he stressed he was not speaking on behalf of anyone else.

Provided the turbines were not over-intrusive he felt they were acceptable but he would have concerns "if the whole horizon was windmills, with a clump here, a clump there and you could see nothing else".

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