AN outspoken farmer who once described wind farms as a big con is planning to erect ten turbines on his land.
Ten years ago Tony Brewington was one of the most vocal anti-wind farm protestors in North Devon. As the spokesman for a pressure group called BLOT – Bradworthy League Opposed to Turbines – he damned wind farms as "A blot on the landscape with no real practical use."
But now he has surprised some local people by agreeing to allow ten small turbines on his land at Dural Farm near Meddon.
The deal he has struck with turbine maker Quiet Revolution is revealed in correspondence with Torridge District Council. But the former RAF air traffic control officer says he stands by his earlier criticism of large wind farms and his small-scale scheme will not spoil the countryside.
Quiet Revolution has written to the district council in advance of a formal planning application. It says it has reached an agreement to locate ten turbines at Dural Farm, about 1.6km from Meddon village.
It says the turbines would be a maximum of 21 metres (63 feet) to the tip of the blade. Mr Brewington says they will actually be only 15 metres (45 feet) tall. By comparison the 22 turbines at Fullabrook near Barnstaple reach 110 metres (330 feet).
Mr Brewington, who stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate in the 2011 Torridge District Council elections, said he stood by his earlier comments.
His previous criticisms of turbines include:
"Wind farms are just a big con."
"If you work out how effective they are, one turbine couldn't power a kettle."
"The amount of electricity they produce is relatively small, but the damage they do to the environment is extraordinary."
This week he admitted: "It does sound a bit odd and I have had a few phone calls from people locally about it. But I have managed to put their minds at rest that I am not doing anything large scale."
He said he still dislikes large wind turbines. But he supports renewable energy and favours the use of tidal power, which is more predictable than wind.
Quiet Revolution says the ten turbines could produce up to 50kW of energy for 25 years.
It says: "We offer to landowners all energy generated by the turbines to either use on site or sell to the grid.
"We believe this is a beneficial method for landowners to reduce both their energy bills and carbon footprint."