A PUBLIC exhibition is being held for revised plans for a West Dorset wind farm which would see its turbines decreased from nine to five.

Campaigners are set to air their opposition to the changed plans at the exhibition at Tolpuddle Village Hall on Thursday, February 13.

Developers West Coast Energy wish to build five wind turbine generators up to 115 metres high on land near Tolpuddle, north east of Dorchester.

The wind farm is projected to generate enough renewable electricity to power around 5,500 homes.

The five turbine proposal with a generating capacity of two megawatts replaces a nine turbine proposal which was submitted a year ago and formally withdrawn last October.

Residents protested against the original plans, with reality TV star Francis Boulle of Made in Chelsea visiting Dorset to show his support for TAINT – Tolpuddle Against Industrial Turbines.

Tolpuddle resident Richard Slocock, a member of TAINT, said the group, which has 400 members, opposes the revised plans.

He said: “We are still 110 per cent opposed. The downsizing of the turbines does not make a lot of difference.

“Our reasons for opposing are the same. We don’t want giant turbines spoiling our countryside here. We are going to be fighting this all the way.”

Steve Salt, West Coast Energy Planning and Public Affairs Director, said the revised proposals accommodate the concerns raised by residents in relation to the turbine’s scale and design.

“We have listened, mainly to the local community, and now welcome the opportunity to speak with local residents, councillors, organisations and local businesses about our revised renewable energy generation plans and economic investment in the area.”

Bethany Redley, south west project development co-ordinator for National Energy Action, will also be attending the public exhibition.

She will be running an energy advice surgery on how to save money by reducing energy costs. Members of the local community are invited to have their energy efficiency questions answered and free energy saving light bulbs will also be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Bethany said: “A lot of people are struggling with their energy costs in some way at the moment, so if anyone is looking for real practical advice on how to save money on their bills I hope they will come along.”

Navitus Bay scales back wind farm project

THE developer behind the controversial wind farm planned for the coast off Dorset has announced that it is scaling back its plans.

Navitus Bay Development Ltd said that the northernmost ‘top triangle’ of the development will be removed, meaning the site, in places, will now be 3.8km further offshore.

It says the move will reduce the visual impact of the plans. It is the second time the boundary has moved back.

The changes see the wind park move further out from Christchurch, now 12 miles instead of 10, while it will be 13 miles from Bournemouth, rather than the 12 originally suggested. The distance from Poole changes from 12.5 miles to 13, but at Swanage the turbines will remain nine miles from the shore.

Navitus Bay says that in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Lymington and Christchurch, the change will “substantially increase the distance of the nearest turbine from the shore”.

However, opposition groups say it changes nothing.

Dr Andrew Langley of Challenge Navitus said: “The threats to the environment, tourism, birds and navigation remain almost unchanged, and the onshore disruption will be the same.”

It will mean that the park will now cover an area of 155 sqkm, compared to 175 sqkm.

The maximum number of turbines will be reduced from 218 to 194.

Mike Unsworth, project director at Navitus Bay, said: “We have always listened to and acted upon the feedback we receive from our public consultations and our statutory consultees.”

Navitus Bay plans to submit its planning application to the Government in the spring and says that the park could power 710,000 homes.