THE winds of change are sweeping through Essex. A ten-turbine wind farm in Bradwell has been given planning permission.

It will be the second in the county, after a five-turbine farm on the outskirts of Clacton was granted consent on appeal.

Southminster could get 22 turbines. An application for nine more has been lodged and tests are being carried out on land for 13 more.

Added to the 48 turbines at Gunfleet Sands, off the coast of Clacton, the county is certainly doing its bit to be green.

But they are not popular among people who will see and hear them.

Campaign group Bradwell and Tillingham Tackling Lost Environment spent years trying to stop the wind farm, but it now seems the group has lost.

Chairman Neil Yates said: “I am immensely disappointed after so much effort by so many local people who value the environment.

“Now to see that environment damaged so significantly by ten ruddy great turbines. They produce a negligible amount of energy and make no difference to climate change.”

Maldon District Council spent almost £150,000 on a failed appeal to fight N-Power’s application in Hockley Farm, Bradwell.

Leader Penny Channer said: “This decision will have a dramatic impact on the district.

“I believe we were right in fighting with Bradwell and Tillingham Tackling Lost Environment, and others, to protect and preserve our district and our initial reasons for refusal are still considered vaild.

“The council is not necessarily against the development of renewable energy, but in this particular case it was considered the harm to the area outweighed the benefits of the wind farm.”

It is the same argument used by campaigners trying to stop N-Power putting up five turbines at Earls Hall Farm, near Clacton.

It was overturned on appeal.

The Government supports wind farms because they help it meet climate change targets, and Government planning inspectors have had the final say on both of Essex’s onshore wind farms.

Government inspector Robert Mellor accepted the 121-metre high turbines would harm the landscape, but said the benefits would be much wider.

His repsonses to the objections were: * Landscape and seascape: He said the wind farm would introduce significant changes, but the tranquility and panoramic views would be preserved.

* Living conditions in terms of noise and outlook: Noise levels would exceed low background noise levels, but be reasonable.

* Aviation interests, particularly with reference to Southend Airport radar: The development would not have a detrimental impact on the existing airport or the proposed expansion.

* Ecology, with particular reference to birds and bats: He said no real harm would be caused to habitats and tackling climate change with renewable energy sources reduces risks to habitats.

* Costs versus benefits of a wind farm: He said the development would help with Government targets on renewable energy and climate change.

* The fact Bradwell has been earmarked for a new nuclear power station: He said it was immaterial a new nuclear power station was likely to be developed because both were needed. But not everyone disagrees with the inspector.

Val Mainwood, spokesman for Bradwell for Renewable Energy, said: “We are delighted. We have made positive representations to two inquiries.”

Melissa Read, spokeswoman for N-Power, said: “We are very pleased to have received planning permission for Bradwell wind farm. Once operational, the wind farm will make a significant contribution towards UK renewable energy targets.”