ENERGY giant EON is to appeal to the Government to overrule Oldham Council’s decision not to allow a windfarm to be built on Denshaw Moor.
The company had six months to consider its position after the application to build seven 365ft-tall turbines, generating power for an estimated 8,000 homes, was rejected in February.
Senior project developer Phil Canning said: “We were obviously disappointed with the original decision. Since then we’ve completed an independent review of the reasons for refusal and of our grounds for appeal.
“We remain of the view that Denshaw Moor is an excellent site for a windfarm and believe that we’ve taken great steps to minimise any impact on the local community.”
The application will now be considered by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), though any inquiry is not likely to take place for 12 months, with a result by the end of 2007.
Alan Roughley, a leading light in the Saddleworth Moors Action Group, formed to challenge the original application, said he would fight the appeal just as vigorously.
He said: “It is disappointing but not surprising. I am told 90 per cent of applications go to appeal.
“As the planning officers, after three years of very careful hard work, recommended the application be refused, I think we have every ground to challenge the appeal and I have every confidence that when it takes place we will succeed.”
Fellow campaigner Ken Hulme said: “It was expected.The cost of hiring a barrister and experts to fight the case for local residents will be in the region of £15,000.
“In this instance Oldham Council will be fighting, we hope, alongside local residents who have an awful lot of fund-raising to do if we are to be properly represented.”
The original application was refused by nine votes to three on the grounds it would damage the landscape and the appearance of the area.
E.ON UK will have to submit an unchanged application to the ODPM.
The Government has a target that 10 per cent of electricity should be generated from renewable sources by 2010, and the ODPM has approved locally refused applications in the past, including a plan to build 26 turbines in Rossendale last year.
Oldham’s head of planning, Geoff Willerton, said: “The council will be defending the reasons for the refusal of the planning application for Denshaw Moor windfarm.
“We look forward to local groups supporting the council at the appeal.”
# E.ON faced strong criticism back in February after it attempted to fix a phone and email poll being run by the Oldham Advertiser into whether or not a windfarm should be built on the moor.
The German firm was forced to apologise after a mass campaign by its staff to influence the local poll.
First published by the Oldham Advertiser
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