Wind power leads the way in Essex

Members of Colchester and North East Essex Friends of the Earth have worked hard to support local wind power developments. Their effort has paid off with the group handed an award for Campaign of the Year.

The group has campaigned for a number of years in support of three local windfarms. All three have now been given the go ahead.

The latest proposal for nine turbines at Middlewick Farm near Southminster was approved by the Planning Inspectorate in May. The windfarm will provide electricity for more than 9,000 homes.

The majority of people we spoke to in Southminster and Burnham were in favour of these slender and graceful wind turbines to provide clean energy.

Paula Whitney, Colchester & NE Essex Friends of the Earth

Initial disappointment

The application was originally turned down by Maldon District Council - a decision which the developer appealed against.

Proposals for ten turbines at Hockley Farm near Bradwell-on-Sea also suffered a similar fate. The windfarm was rejected at Council level before being approved after a public inquiry.

An anti-windfarm group challenged this decision but a second inquiry meant plans for the windfarm were finally agreed.

Leading the way

In November 2009 five turbines at Earls Hall near Clacton-on-Sea became the first windfarm in Essex to be given the go-ahead.

Tendring Council had gone against the advice of its Planning Officer and opposed the application.

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Group Coordinator Paula Whitney receives the Earthmovers award

Team effort

Group members collected over 1000 letters in support for the Earls Hall proposal which helped it pass the subsequent planning inquiry. Only 152 letters were received in opposition

They also gathered a significant number of letters in support of Middlewick windfarm.

Over 50 letters were collected in just two hours outside a local supermarket. The group also helped raise 300 letters by knocking on people's doors and asking them to support the project.

Deserved reward 

In recognition of the efforts made, the group was given the Earthmovers Award at our recent annual Conference. Alongside collecting letters of support members of the group also:

  • Visited each site to assess things in person
  • Submitted detailed submissions in favour of the proposals
  • Persuaded Planning Inspectors to make extra site visits and visit existing windfarms
  • Countered the misinformation spread by anti-wind groups
  • Added detailed information to the group's website
  • Attended and spoke at Public Inquiries
  • Achieved lots of positive press coverage  

Looking forward

The group is keen to see the fruits of their efforts.

Construction of the windfarm at Hockley Farm is due to begin in late 2011. The turbines at Earls Hall and Middlewick Farm are set to follow afterwards.

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