Keep Hampshire Green asks for help to save Popham airfield

Keep Hampshire Green is an environmental action group formed by Hampshire residents to oppose French electricity company EDF’s plans for a wind turbine power station in the heart of the county.

The proposed power station would consist of 14 wind turbines, one of the largest inland wind power stations in the south of England, sin the countryside around Bullington Cross. Each turbine would be 126m high (413ft), which is taller than the cooling towers at Didcot Power Station. As they would stand on high ground, they would be visible across a large part of Hampshire and as far afield as Salisbury, Alton, Winchester and possibly Southampton.

Popham Airfield will potentially be affected by the vortices created by the wind turbines. The airfield is a popular and well-used facility for light aircraft and micro-lights, and there would be safety concerns as it is aligned so that aircraft taking off would fly directly at the wind turbines.

Turbines would also present a hazard to gliders from Lasham airfield and balloon flights which frequently use the area.

EDF’s planning application was recommended for refusal by the planning officers of Winchester, Basingstoke and Test Valley Councils in June 2014. The wind farm was then refused by the planning committees of all three councils. EDF had six months in which to appeal the decision, and their appeal was duly delivered in mid-December.

The appeal is made to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate (PI), based in Bristol, and the PI then sets a timetable to be agreed between the appellant (EDF) and the Local Planning Authorities, leading up to the hearing date. A date has been proposed for a three-week hearing starting on 13 October. Once this has been agreed, the PI will appoint a Planning Inspector who will arbitrate the decision.

Keep Hampshire Green has applied to be a “Rule 6 Party”, which gives them the opportunity to make substantial representations at the planning inquiry, and for their barrister to cross-examine expert witnesses put up by the developer.

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Once the Inspector has heard the evidence at the hearing, the report will be written up over the following three to six months, making a recommendation to the Secretary of State to accept or refuse the appeal.

For more information and to support the campaign, visit www.keephampshiregreen.org

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