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Wind farm firm aims for appeal victory


BOSSES from the wind farm firm Ecotricity have said they will ‘win the day’ even though their controversial plans for five turbines near Brent Knoll were thrown out by planners.

Members of Sedgemoor District Council’s development control committee voted unanimously against the proposal to build a wind farm at Inner Farm at a meeting in Bridgwater on August 8.

But the green firm has confirmed it will appeal against the decision and is confident it will be given the all-clear to site the wind turbines under the shadow of Brent Knoll by this time next year.

Dale Vince, managing director of Ecotricity, said: “We are very disappointed but not surprised because the council made it clear to us from the start that it was against windmills, so we are now halfway through the process.

“We can now move on to the professional part and put the decision into the hands of planning inspectors and a public inquiry where we believe it will be properly addressed and balanced and we will win the day.

“This wasn’t a proper test. At the meeting you could see councillors didn’t know anything about it and they came out with some really crazy things.”

Planning officers recommended the application be refused on the grounds that it would ruin the views at the local beauty spot.

Mick Brown, a Sedgemoor member for the Highbridge ward, said: “This will have an irreversible and adverse affect on the environment and historic buildings.

“The turbines would be out of place and visible for miles around. I think it’s so outlandish that it’s difficult to think of a worse act of cultural vandalism than putting these there.”

Many committee members stated they were in favour of wind farms in general but added fears of noise pollution, safety, shadow flicker, affects on tourism and the ‘delicate economy’ to the list of reasons why they were throwing out the Brent Knoll proposal.

But Mr Vince says the company adheres to a neighbour-friendly policy and has had no complaints from people living near the firm’s 11 wind farms across the UK.

Ecotricity’s Norfolk Ecotech Centre also has a single turbine with a viewing platform which 50,000 people have climbed since 1999 and bosses say the windmills attract people and boost tourism.

Ecotricity has won appeals to site wind farms in Mendip and Stroud after planning officers refused the applications, and the green firm is confident the same will happen in Brent Knoll.