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Italy

Italy

Residents join forces to halt construction of project in Tuscan hills

A committee for the environmental protection of a Tuscan hilltop town, Scansano, has been established by local residents seeking to block construction of a wind project by Spain's Gamesa. The committee has gathered signatures against the project from winemakers, owners of farm hotels and others as it seeks to put a halt to the construction of ten, 67-metre tall, 2 MW turbines. "It's one of the most beautiful valleys in Tuscany," says Jacopo Biondi Santi, a member of the committee and a wine producer whose great-grandfather created Brunello di Montalcino wine in the 19th century. Biondi Santi says the project also springs up in an area with castles and archaeological ruins. "It's not that we're against wind power, but not here in a place where tourism is so important," he says. But Klaus Falgiani, who heads the project for Gamesa, says that Scansano's countryside is not untouched, noting that it already hosts two high-tension electricity lines as well as a power station. Falgiani also says the plant is to be constructed in an area that has virtually been abandoned. He says the development will contribute positively to tourism by providing a chance for visitors to come and learn about wind power. He dismisses claims that the wind station would have a negative impact on the micro-climate and says the project has been known about for at least two years. Both the town government and the region of Tuscany have given their authorisation, but an okay from the provincial government is still to come.

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