Eco-friendly group lobbies for Uttlesford communities to consider benefits of wind power

Wind turbine Wind turbine

Thursday, April 10, 2014
10:10 AM

Environmentalists have put forward the possibility of installing wind turbines across Uttlesford to be powered by and for the community.

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The benefit of the eco-friendly approach would be two-fold, ­according to its backers – offering a financial incentive for residents and reducing the district’s carbon footprint.

Wind farms are controversial but this concept would see the ­introduction of single turbines rather than a group of them.

Chairman of Uttlesford Sustainable Homes Network, Jonathan Cooke, would like to see three wind turbines up and running in the next five years.

Long-term, he envisages each village and town in Uttlesford having one or two wind turbines powering homes in the area, depending on whether people were “grabbed by the idea or put off by it”.

He said a similar concept, which cost almost £1million, is up-and-running in the Cambridgeshire village of Gamlingay.

“This is about making people aware of what they can do to reduce energy consumption,” said Mr Cooke.

Referring to the Gamlingay scheme, he said: “It’s been organised by the residents and I think we should do something similar in Uttlesford.

“The community benefits from it rather than large companies ­dumping 14 in a row somewhere and creaming off the profit.”

In Gamlingay, villagers paid for one 37m turbine which can generate enough power for 150 homes. It was installed last May thanks to contributions from businesses and residents, who each receive a slice of the income it generates in the same way as shareholders of a public company. Ten per cent of the profit goes towards eco-friendly projects in the village.

A representative from the Gamlingay Community Wind Turbine group, Chris Smith, is presenting the village’s model at the Uttlesford Sustainable Homes Network meeting tonight (Thursday).

He said: “The biggest danger to the environment from Global Warming is the assumption that other people are going to sort the problem out. But in Gamlingay we don’t think that way, we wanted to take the lead, so we raised the money ourselves locally.

“We wanted to make a statement that we care about the environment and offset our carbon footprint here in the village.”

The Sustainable Homes Network, set up to promote the ideas of those interested in sustainability and making homes ‘green’, is a not-for-profit organisation supported by Uttlesford District Council.

People can go to the district ­council offices, on London Road, at 7.30pm to find out more.

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