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Planned windfarm a danger to geese

PUBLISHED: 09:55 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:48 07 July 2010

Pink foot geese which migrate in their thousands to The Wash each winter could be under threat from plans to build one of Britain's biggest onshore wind farms on farmland between Docking and Fakenham.

Pink foot geese which migrate in their thousands to The Wash each winter could be under threat from plans to build one of Britain's biggest onshore wind farms on farmland between Docking and Fakenham.

Proposals leaked to villagers have revealed Hertfordshire-based Renewable Energy Systems (RES) wants to build up to 30 turbines on land west of the Creakes.

RES, part of construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine Group, said it was too early to say exactly how many turbines it would propose.

Reg Thompson, a member of Against Turbines at Chiplow, a group set up to fight energy company E.on's proposed six turbines south of Syderstone, criticised RES for not telling local people of its plans earlier. He said: “RES has been looking at this site for six years and in that time they have not issued any details of their plans.

“The main objection to this is that pink-footed geese feed here in the winter months; we get thousands of them. They come in and feed on the sugar beet tops and stubble. They fly low, and this farm could be three miles wide and three-and-a-half miles deep. Raptors would also be at risk from it.”

Last night the RSPB said: “We have been consulted at the pre-scoping stages of this wind farm proposal and have expressed concerns about the dangers this site might pose for the migrating pink-footed geese population that winter in these parts of Norfolk.

“We would urge the developers to consider how sensitive an area this is for this species and undertake relevant survey work to determine how serious an impact this wind farm could have on the geese.”

RES has had a 70m-high anemometer mast at the centre of the site in Jack's Lane at Bluestone Farm, South Creake, since 2005 to monitor wind and noise. It has held talks with West Norfolk Council and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) about the scheme, too. If the proposal is more than 50mW in capacity it would have to go to the DECC for planning permission.

RES was formed about 25 years ago and calls itself an “influential leader in the global sustainable energy market”. It is already building a 34-turbine wind farm at Keadby, in north Lincolnshire.

Simon Peltenburg, project manager for RES, said the 30 sites marked on the map were potential locations for turbines, although he added: “We have already identified constraints which mean we cannot put turbines in all of those locations.”

He said the firm would have a better idea of what its plans would be by mid- to late-summer, once full tests on the site had been completed, and it would then begin to consult local people and hold public exhibitions.

“We will then have a far more realistic site design which we think is environmentally-expectable and sensitive,” said Mr Peltenburg.

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