National Wind Power (NWP) has announced that plans for the South West’s first WindWorks project at Cricket St. Thomas, approximately four miles east of Chard in Somerset, have received the backing of the Planning Committee at South Somerset District Council.Cricket St. Thomas, England – March 11, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The wind power plans received strong support with 10 members voting in favor of the scheme, none voting against and 4 abstaining. The project, known as the Cricket St. Thomas Wind Cluster, would comprise three 1.3 megawatt (MW) wind turbines and would generate enough clean electricity to meet the average needs of up to 3,000 local homes every year, equivalent to about half of the homes in nearby Chard. “We see this project as the next stage in a long history of harnessing natural resources at Cricket St. Thomas,” said Taylor of Cricket St. Thomas Estate who filled the application for the turbines. “In the past there were 9 water mills on the Estate, today’s technology allows us to capture another natural, clean and sustainable resource – the wind. With the growing threat of global warming, and its impact on Somerset and the South West in general, the timing of this project could not be better. We’re proud that the wind turbines could help to reduce pollution and therefore global warming by replacing dirty electricity supplies. At the same time, this project will ensure the long term security of this beautiful Estate by introducing an alternative source of income to counter the falling agricultural returns.” Matt Partridge, NWP’s development manager for the South West, has been advising Mr Taylor and said; “I’m delighted that South Somerset District Council Planning Committee has supported this sustainable energy project and that WindWorks is off to a flying start in Somerset. The WindWorks service has been enthusiastically embraced by landowners throughout the South West and I look forward to further successful projects in the future, in Somerset and elsewhere, all helping to meet the Government’s target to substantially increase the UK’s clean energy supplies.” “Every single operating wind turbine makes an important contribution towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise have been released by fossil fuel power stations. Every year the wind turbines at Cricket St,” said Partridge. “Thomas alone will offset the release of over 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main gas that contributes towards climate change. The Government is working towards a target of reducing the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2010 and WindWorks projects will make a valuable contribution towards these targets.” The proposal will now go before the Regulation Committee. In the event that planning consent is granted, NWP would finance, construct, operate and maintain the turbines throughout their life of about 20 years. This would allow the landowners to continue their farming activities whilst receiving an ongoing, environment friendly income stream from the project. According to the company, farmers and landowners across the country have expressed a lot of interest and enthusiasm for the WindWorks scheme and a number of other projects are currently being considered in the UK, including schemes in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.