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Doubts raised over turbine plan

PUBLISHED: 16:56 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:01 12 July 2010

Doubts have been cast over the carbon cutting value of plans for a wind turbine at a community centre in Suffolk.

Community leaders in Palgrave, near Diss, put forward their final submissions last week in a bid to get a £60,000 grant from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to generate power at their village hall.

Doubts have been cast over the carbon cutting value of plans for a wind turbine at a community centre in Suffolk.

Community leaders in Palgrave, near Diss, put forward their final submissions last week in a bid to get a £60,000 grant from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to generate power at their village hall.

But a professional environmentalist, who lives in the village, has questioned the amount of electricity that Palgrave Community Council's proposed 11kw turbine would produce.

Maralyn Robertson-Rintoul , who runs an environmental consultancy firm in London, said that the planned site at the edge of the community centre's playing field, off Rose Lane, would produce very little electricity because of the low average wind speed in Palgrave.

The environmentalist, who is also a member of Palgrave Community Centre, said the village was divided by the green energy proposals and some felt “betrayed” by the actions of the community council.

“The proposed turbine will be only 180metres from some of the houses in the village and the community in general did not know anything about this before the application was made for funding, which has angered a huge proportion of the Palgrave community,” she said.

It comes after Palgrave Community Council was shortlisted for possible funding as part of EEDA's Cut Your Carbon scheme.

Dr Robertson-Rintoul added: “Even if the turbine could provide all the electricity the community council wants, it would only cut the carbon footprint of the village by less than 1pc. If everyone in the village turned their heating down one degree it would save 1.5 million kilowatt hours per year compared to the 30,000 kilowatt hours of the turbine,” she said.

Chris Shillinglaw, chairman of the Palgrave Community Council, said the group would hear this week whether it had been successful in securing the £60,000 from EEDA. He added that there would be public consultation before a planning application was submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council.

“If we were a house, we would be in fuel poverty because we spend about 20pc of our income on fuel and we have to wake up to that. The community centre is at the heart of the village and it would be dreadful if it closed,” he said.

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