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Efforts to boost renewable energy

PUBLISHED: 09:57 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 July 2010

A NATIONAL alliance of more than 30 local action groups against windfarm development in the countryside, which was launched yesterday, has been welcomed by groups in Norfolk.

A NATIONAL alliance of more than 30 local action groups against windfarm development in the countryside, which was launched yesterday, has been welcomed by groups in Norfolk.

The new group - to be known as the National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups (NAWAG) - brings together community organisations from England, Scotland and Wales who are fighting to raise the profile of the issue.

Launch members will recruit as many as possible of the estimated 200-plus action groups in existence across Britain, to create a powerful voice against wind turbines.

Michael Windridge, South Norfolk councillor for Hempnall, has been leading the Stop Hempnall's Onshore Wind Turbines (Showt) campaign against Enertrag's bid to develop a seven-turbine site near the village.

He said: “Those of us fighting inappropriately sited onshore wind turbine proposals and their threat to the Norfolk landscape welcome with open arms the launching of this national campaign.

“The gold rush to wind represents a scandalous scam against the British taxpayer. Wind turbines are built from huge government subsidies hidden in our domestic electricity bills.

“Because of their intermittent nature, wind turbines can't generate enough energy to reduce global CO2 levels to any significant degree. As they cannot generate a steady output, coal and gas power stations will always be needed to provide the necessary back-up.”

The NAWAG campaign will seek to highlight the following issues:

Adverse visual impact of inappropriately sited turbines on the British countryside.

Health and amenity impacts of turbines being built too close to people's homes and places of work, arguing for a 2km exclusion zone.

Threat to habitats and wildlife from turbines, especially bats and birds.

Potential damage to tourism jobs from windfarms.

In the Shipdham area of mid-Norfolk, campaigners have successfully fought three planning applications from Ecotricity for turbines and three public inquiries.

Brian Kidd, chairman of the group which has fought against turbines at Shipdham and Scarning for more than seven years and is part of the alliance, said last night: “This new alliance takes the campaign on to a new level. Now we will be lobbying for support from the shadow cabinet, many of whom have aligned themselves with our campaign.”

There are several potential sites for wind turbines in Norfolk and Suffolk, with campaign groups springing up in most locations.

This month, more than 100 people wrote letters objecting to a plan for more wind turbines between Docking and Fring in the area around Honey Hills.

Bernard Matthews also lodged a formal application with Waveney District Council seeking planning permission to install five wind turbines on land at a former airfield at Holton near Halesworth.

And campaigners fighting plans to build 12 turbines in the parishes of Ringsfield, Weston Barsham and Shipmeadow, near Beccles, say they are gearing up for a summer of action.

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