BATTLE lines have been drawn up over plans for a second wind farm in the Hampshire Downs.

Energy giant TCI Renewables has applied for permission to build six 130- metre tall turbines at Woodmancott Down, near Micheldever.

The developer says it would generate enough clean electricity to power 8,000 homes annually and could reduce carbon emissions by 14,600 tonnes each year.

But protestors argue that the turbines – taller than Salisbury Cathedral – would industrialise the rural landscape. The scheme includes access roads, concrete hard standing and a central building.

Some 256 objections have been logged by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council compared to six letters of support.

The final tally is likely to be far higher, as the planning department had a pile of letters still to open.

Objectors include the RSPB, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Popham Airfield and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s landscape architects.

Concerns include birds being killed or maimed by the turbine’s spinning blades and possible danger to microlight aircraft flying nearby.

Protesters managed to get the official deadline for public comments extended from July 24 to August 14.

The scheme comes just months after a planning application from energy giant EDF Energy Renewables for a wind farm at nearby Bullington, north of Winchester.

Protesters have launched a SOS (Save Our Scenic) Hampshire Downs campaign to rally opposition.

They plan to hold four information evenings at local venues next week, including East Stratton Village Hall tonight at 7.30pm.

Spokesman Jonathan Moseley said: “These industrial structures will scar the landscape. They will impact the whole of this rural idyll. It will spoil the tranquillity of the place.”

TCI says it has reduced the number of turbines and put cabling underground to reduce any impact on the landscape.

It says the wind farm would make an important contribution to regional and national targets for green energy generation.