Rushy Mead M4 wind farm plan rejected over landscape fears

Site at Rushy Mead
Image caption Councillors said the 130m (427ft) high turbines would have damaged the landscape at Rushy Mead

Plans for a wind farm in Berkshire have been rejected over fears it would harm the landscape and heritage sites.

The proposal was for four turbines on land owned by the University of Reading, near the M4 at Rushy Mead.

Campaigners said they were too near homes and the noise would disrupt sleep patterns. Wokingham council refused the scheme on Wednesday evening.

Partnerships for Renewables, which would run the site, believed the design was "appropriate" for the location.

The firm, which said the farm would generate enough electricity to power about 5,500 homes, are considering whether to appeal.

'Value countryside'

Wokingham council said the 130m (427ft) high turbines would have affected views from a number of heritage sites and damage the character of the landscape.

Councillor Bob Pitts, planning committee member, said: "The harm to heritage assets did not outweigh the benefits to the environment.

"I expect they [Partnerships for Renewables (PfR)] will appeal but I believe the officers' report was thorough and correct."

The Householders Against Rushy Mead (Harm) group had campaigned against the proposal.

Image caption The Green Park turbine has been rated as ineffective in a survey

Jan Heard, from Harm, who lives about 350m (985ft) from the proposed boundary of the site, said: "We are delighted that the council unanimously voted to refuse permission.

"Residents of the area value their countryside and cultural heritage."

The group also claimed that a recent study by the Renewable Energy Foundation, which ranked the nearby Green Park turbine as one of the most ineffective in the UK, proved there was not enough wind in the area.

However, PfR said its own research showed it was windy enough.

Stephen Ainger, CEO of PfR, said: "We have received a great deal of support for our work at Rushy Mead.

"We believe that the proposal is well designed and appropriate for the location.

"We are very much aware that we have a responsibility to the local community to make a quick and informed decision on what our next steps will be and we will announce our decision shortly."

The original plan for six turbines was scaled back after BAE Systems feared they could affect the radar at Heathrow.

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