A community almost brought to its knees by Mother Nature could turn to the elements in a bid to help secure Britain’s energy future.
Five wind turbines are planned for the hills surrounding Boscastle, which was devastated by floods in August 2004, causing millions of pounds worth of damage which took months to repair.
But some residents are concerned by recent plans to build five new wind turbines in Lesnewth, a tiny community towards the top of the village in North Cornwall, where much of the rainwater collected before joining the rivers which weave down to the scene of the floods.
They say the turbines, which will measure up to 34m (110ft) to blade tip, will destroy “one of the last wild sanctuaries of Britain” if they are given the go-ahead by county planners.
Pat Thorne, one of the 30 people on Lesnewth’s electoral roll, said the proposals would contradict the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) management plan, adding a scar on the “wild, wet and windy but stunningly beautiful” natural landscape.
“The irony is not lost on me that Mother Nature threatened to destroy Boscastle and now the forces of nature are threatening to destroy this wild and protected environment once again,” said Mrs Thorne, a retired school teacher.
“Much of the rainwater that fell on August 16, 2004, fell here in Lesnewth, before joining the river Valency and travelling 700ft down to sea level at Boscastle.
“We are of course not against renewable energy, we do a lot ourselves at our property. What we are against is the proliferation of wind turbines, in an area like this.
“I am not sure that I will be able to hear them, or even see them, but others will and so, because there are very few of us in this area, we are joining together to shout as loudly as we can about this issue.”
Only one application for a turbine has been submitted, through Aspire Planning Ltd, with four more applications at the screening stage.
Commenting on the application, Eric Gill said he was concerned about “catastrophic” noise pollution “in what currently is a very peaceful” area. “The noise would not be disguised by traffic as we virtually have none; the only sound here is the sound of the countryside,” he added.
Lesnewth is popular with tourists, with the nearby St Juliot church attracting those keen to witness the architectural designs of Thomas Hardy, who worked on plans for the building’s restoration.
Lesnewth Parish Meeting group – it is too small to have its own parish council – said: “Our unique ancient and breathtaking landscape has such a high and precious value not only to us as residents but also by the very many tourists that visit the area who come just to embrace themselves in the quiet rural peace we have to offer.”