Should there be a wind turbine on Hackney Marshes? Still time to have your say

Residents are being reminded there is still time to have their say on whether a wind turbine should be put on Hackney Marshes.

Hackney Council is running a public consultation until 14 December to hear local people’s views on the proposal.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has proposed putting a wind turbine on East Marsh to generate local renewable energy as part of the legacy of the 2012 Games.

If the wind turbine goes ahead it will offer Hackney Council the opportunity to buy green energy for up to 25 years, cutting carbon emissions significantly and potentially saving money.

The Council could also receive rent for the land the turbine would sit on, which the Council could invest in sports and playing facilities on the Marshes.

The ODA is already going ahead with one wind turbine on Eton Manor in the neighbouring borough of Waltham Forest.

Hackney is committed to cutting its carbon emissions, and if a wind turbine was built on East Marsh, the two wind turbines together could generate enough green electricity to power Hackney s street lights at night and the main council buildings by day. While minimising the use of energy is the top priority, this would bring a substantial cut in Hackney s carbon emissions.

Residents can take part in the public consultation by:
•visiting the Council website: to complete a consultation questionnaire
•phoning to request a paper copy of the consultation questionnaire: 020 8356 3126
•finding out more in the Council newspaper Hackney Today
•attending a drop in session at Hackney’s libraries
•emailing questions to:

Library drop-in sessions
•Hackney Central - 16 November, 11:30am-2pm and 18 November 11:30am-2pm
•CLR James – 16 November, 4-6pm
•Stoke Newington – 23 November, 3-5pm

Jules Pipe, elected Mayor of Hackney, said: “The proposal to put a wind turbine on East Marsh will arouse strong feelings, and it is a matter that deserves serious debate.

“This is an opportunity to generate truly local green power to power things for the community, such as all of Hackney’s street lights. This would bring a substantial cut in Hackney’s carbon emissions, helping to make Hackney one of the greenest boroughs in London. The cost of the wind turbine energy to the borough is also expected to be less than the cost of energy from traditional sources.

“I am quite aware though that there are other issues to consider. Wind turbines are big, and they are not always considered beautiful. There will be an impact on the skyline and a small loss of access to an area of green space around the stem of the turbine, because turbine companies are insisting increasingly that the area immediately below the blades should not be open to the public. These two issues are particularly relevant when we have just regained green space and a clear skyline with the removal of electricity pylons that stretched across the Marshes.

“This is the beginning of what I hope will be a wide ranging debate, and it is a genuine listening exercise. Both I and the Council want to hear your responses to the idea in principle of a wind turbine on East Marsh, and your view will count.

“On balance, I think the wind turbine is a good idea, but if the public response to this is no, then it will not go ahead. This will not be forced through if residents don t want it."

Hackney Council has signed up to challenging targets to cut its carbon emissions as a Council, including reducing them by 10 per cent by 2010. Using green power is one way the Council can achieve this.

Hackney Marshes belong to the people of Hackney and it is important for as many people as possible to take part in this consultation. The consultation runs from 19 October to 14 December 2009.