Wind farm bid near planned nuclear plant

Western Morning News, Tuesday October 20, 2009

AN ENERGY company is proposing to build up to nine wind turbines just a few miles from another of its sites earmarked for a controversial new nuclear power station.

EDF Energy Renewables (EDF ER) has released plans to develop a new wind farm at Withy Farm, Puriton, near Bridgwater in Somerset.

EDF Energy is also currently carrying out studies to support a future planning application for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, also near Bridgwater.

The nuclear proposals have met with fierce opposition from local campaigners.

EDF ER's wind farm proposals, which are still in their early stages, consist of a potential development of up to nine 2MW turbines, capable of producing enough electricity to supply the annual requirements of up to 10,000 homes.

The company said the turbines could lead to savings of around 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Initial ecological studies of the site have begun and in the next few weeks, EDF ER hopes to apply for planning permission to install a temporary meteorological monitoring mast at the site.

The mast will gather information on weather conditions and wind-speeds, to assess how suitable the site is for the project.

A spokesman for EDF ER said it would release plans to consult with the local community in the New Year.

Dennis Garry, the company's renewables development manager for the project, said: "As a country, we face a significant energy challenge to keep the lights on, tackle climate change and maintain affordable prices.

"We believe the challenge can be met through greater energy efficiency and the generation of electricity from a diverse range of sources including nuclear and renewables. So we're very pleased to be able to announce our proposals for the site at Withy Farm."

The site for the proposed wind farm lies near Shapwick Heath Nature Reserve, an important habitat for birds and wildlife. No-one from the reserve was available to comment last night on the effect a wind farm may have.

A Somerset spokesman for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has opposed wind farm applications elsewhere in the Westcountry, said yesterday he did not know anything about this specific proposal and was therefore unable to comment.

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Page Updated 25-Oct-2009