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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Eastchurch wind turbine plan comes under fire from wildlife photographer and Sheppey resident, Phil Haynes

08 February 2014
by Emma Grove

In September we reported how Airvolution Energy Limited is hoping to erect the wind farm at New Rides Farm, off Leysdown Road, Eastchurch.

The company has now officially submitted its proposal to Swale council for the structures, which would be a maximum of 126.5 metres from base to blade tip.

A draft artist impression of how the wind turbines could look, as viewed from the entrance to New Rides, from the south side of Eastchurch village

A draft artist impression of how the wind turbines could look, as viewed from the entrance to New Rides, from the south side of Eastchurch village

Eastchurch resident and photographer Phil Haynes says he has observed the two turbines at HMP Standford Hill since they were installed in 2012 and believes another wind farm in the area would do immense harm to the resident wildlife.

The land nearby the planned location is home to the second largest population of marsh harriers in the UK and is an important nesting, foraging and roosting site. There are also various species of owl in the area as well as numerous other birds and mammals.

Photographer, Phil Haynes, has raised concerns about the impact on wildlife if the turbine plan goes ahead

Photographer, Phil Haynes, has raised concerns about the impact on wildlife if the turbine plan goes ahead

Mr Haynes, 62, has been monitoring bird movements around the existing turbines and says he has seen they create a barrier effect – displacing them from their favourite routes by as much as 800 metres.

He is also concerned the proposed turbines would force owls away from their nest sites and prime foraging area and says adult birds which are forced from their home range rarely survive.

“Nationally, there is so much of our wildlife under extreme pressure, areas such as this are becoming more and more important to their survival and must have some form of protection,” he said. “It cannot be over emphasised how important it is this site remains undisturbed.

“It’s sad to see the amount of prime wildlife habitat the machines destroy.”

There have been seven objections registered against the application online, some from residents who will be nearby them, also expressing fears about the wildlife, concerns over noise and lighting and perceived health risks from the turbines.

Darren Prescott, from Bay View, has commented in support of the plan.

He says: “It’s great to see proposals for green energy.

“I like the view of wind turbines – I can see the existing two from my house – and I feel they add to the view rather than detract from it.”

Residents have until Monday, February 17, to comment, either on the UK Planning website or by writing to Planning Services, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, ME10 3HT.

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