The wind's got up in Nympsfield

If you visit the village of Nympsfield, high on the Cotswolds near Stroud, you will soon hear someone give vent to a disgusted exclamation of "Sixty kettles!" That, the objectors reckon, would be the average output of the giant wind turbine which threatens to dominate their skyline: that dribble of electricity would be the sole return for allowing a huge, alien structure to disfigure the landscape.

The dispute at Nympsfield has been rumbling since 1992, when Stroud District Council gave permission for a 100ft mast to be erected near the village. The applicant was Western Windpower, a firm run by a young and articulate entrepreneur called Dale Vince, acting with the German firm Enercon.

In November that year the Council gave permission for Western Windpower to erect two E-33s - turbines 163 feet high. For various reasons these have never been built, but now Mr Vince has applied for permission to construct one E-40, a 208ft monster. The villagers have risen up and formed the Cotswold Protection Group, which claims to represent 80 per cent of the population.

Arguments rage about how much power a single E-40 would produce. Mr Vince claims that on average it would satisfy the domestic needs of 1170 people, or 20 per cent of the population of Nympsfield and the neighbouring town, Nailsworth. The villagers maintain that it would take 36 years to produce what one 2,000-megawatt coal-fired station can turn out in a single day.

Noise is another factor much in dispute. Because the E-40 is of advanced design, its advocates argue that it will make scarcely a sound. The villagers claim that the swooshing noise from the 70ft blades will pollute a wide area.

There is also resentment that one small company stands to make money at the expense of the community: the Protection Group's figures show that over 20 years the mast could yield pounds 1m profit. Further, the objectors suspect they are being used as guinea pigs.

Yet the fiercest argument is aesthetic. Should such a structure be allowed in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty? "If this turbine goes up, all protection for the AONB will go out the window," says Ian Blair, a farmer who lives in full view of the site. "This structure would make a mockery of every national and local attempt to protect the Cotswolds. If you allow this one, how will you stop others?"

"Nonsense!" says Mr. Vince. "The site is the best you could find. The machine is the best you can get. The visual impact will be minimal."

He also draws attention to the fact that a line of high-voltage electricity pylons already marches past the site, and claims that the villagers are motivated by base motives - "fear of something they don't understand, and jealousy that other people are going to make money".

Having seen how glaringly obvious is the wind-farm at Llandinam in Wales, I cannot believe that it is right to build a big turbine in an AONB. But I do not envy the members of the planning committee who have to take the decision. If they give the mast the go-ahead, they may appear politically correct on the question of renewable energy; but they will incur fierce resentment locally and put the wind up conservationists all over the country.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker