Diss-based turbine firm considers its future

A renewable energy company is reviewing the future of its Diss base after blaming a lack of 'political support' for onshore wind farm applications.

The town is one of two locations in Britain for German-owned Enertrag which has failed to get permission for a single turbine locally since it moved to south Norfolk.

Its managing director this week confirmed the firm had launched a review of its operations in the area as a result of its lack of success.

The wind energy company has had proposals for seven 125m-high wind turbines refused by South Norfolk Council and a planning inspector on appeal and has submitted scaled-down plans at Tivetshall St Mary – from six to three – after local objections.

Neil Lindsay, managing director of Enertrag, said the company was reviewing its investment strategy and accused South Norfolk Council and South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon of being 'anti-wind energy' and siding with the 'minority'.

'We are reviewing our operations in that neck of the woods. We have not had the political support, which is very disappointing. We have been in south Norfolk for six or seven years and every time we put in an application the councillors are completely anti-wind energy,' he said.

Mr Lindsay added that Norfolk was falling behind government renewable energy targets and on average only 10 to 15pc of residents were against onshore turbines. Enertrag employs five people at its Diss office.

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'Like any company, we invest our money and resources in areas where we get the most success and we continue to develop projects throughout the UK and will look at Norfolk, but we will only do it if there is the political will,' he said.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said it was 'sad' that Enertrag could close its Diss operation, but the authority had approved one application and rejected two from turbine companies.

'Wind turbine applications are very contentious and bring out strong views on both sides and we have taken a measured approach. The council has judged them on their merits,' he said.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said he was in favour of alternative energy sources, but 'the rural landscape of south Norfolk is not the place for industrial machines. If they [Enertrag] have come to the conclusion that this is the wrong place for wind turbines then that is jolly good news,' he said.