French turbine plan just went flying past

I THOUGHT readers might be interested in a contrasting “Tale of two windmill applications.”

In Todmorden, Coronation Power (the would-be developers) held open information days in the town hall, commissioned a video montage of how their turbines would look from different angles, produced leaflets, visited concerned residents and spoke at local council meetings.

Whatever you think of their proposals, you can’t deny that local people were given a chance to communicate/compliment/criticise.

The Town Council objected, the local paper was full of letters (mostly objection, some of support) – an “anti” pressure group was formed, which has now raised money to fight Coronation’s appeal, so great expense was incurred on both sides.

Meanwhile, in France, in the tiny village of St Germain de Longue Chaume (in Les Deux Sevres) where my in-laws live, EDF (Electricite de France) has just erected a similar sized development with not a “soupcon” of objection from the local residents.

From what I can gather, there was no consultation whatsoever (not even information dissemination) with the locals.

I don’t pretend to understand the vagaries of the French Planning system (during 10 years on Calderdale Council it was a struggle to keep up with the English one).

However, these turbines were installed at the speed of...well, wind I suppose, and in a French version of “planning gain” the villagers of St Germain, courtesy of EDF, have gained a “free” village-owned restaurant and “Salle de Fetes.”I am not passing judgement at this stage, but am fascinated by the differences here.

I can’t help but wonder how the story would have gone in both places if the application had instead been for a nuclear power station, or if the outcome of this first application will prevent the future application for a nuclear power station!

Clare Townley, Todmorden.