A CONTROVERSIAL wind monitoring mast is to be constructed in a rural Cheshire village, despite fierce local opposition.
Work will begin today on putting up the 60m metal structure on farmland near the Sandstone Trail in Bickerton.
The anometer, which is expected to be in place by Monday, will measure wind strength and speed for a six-month period and results will then be analysed by staff at Banks Developments.
A decision on whether Bickerton is a suitable site for a wind farm – comprising three to five 125m steel turbines – will then be taken.
Planning permission for the project was initially rejected by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council but the decision was overturned on appeal in August last year, much to the dismay of local residents and campaigners.
Protest group Stop Bickerton Wind Turbines has been backed by Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien who has spoken publicly about the project being “gesture politics” and has questioned the viability of wind-production as a renewable energy source.
He said: “Cheshire’s admirable diversification is likely to be put under great threat for the sake of a few turbines which will create no real value in terms of electrical output, the rural economy or people locally.”
Rob Williams, renewables projects director at Banks Developments confirmed that the anometer should take two days to erect and will be in place for six months.
He said: “During this time, data will be gathered and stored digitally, and the mast will be monitored by Banks staff at regular intervals.
“Should it show that the site is a suitable location for a wind farm, we will conduct a full public consultation and hope that local people will then make their minds up about any plans based on their factual detail.”