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160 letters object to windfarm plan  


Richard Shimell

12:00 – 12 September 2006
Protest letters against the building of a windfarm near Rackenford have poured into Mid Devon District Council before a feasibility study has even been completed. More than 160 letters have been sent to the council opposing the planning application to put up equipment to measure wind speed on Bickham Moor to the east of the A361, North Devon Link Road, between Rackenford and Oakford.

The protests follow a public meeting organised in July to oppose the plans, which could lead to the erection of four 410ft turbines.

Tomorrow the council’s planning committee is due to consider the application by Coronation Power to put up the 60-metre anemometer.

Planning officers have recommended the committee should approve the plan.

Oakford Parish Council has submitted a long list of objections, including fears that the anemometer could harm wildlife; lead to an application to build a wind farm; it would be visible from Exmoor and Dartmoor; it could affect the value of nearby properties and the lives of their residents and that roads were too narrow to cope with the vehicles needed to build it.

In the committee report, the applicant said the testing equipment would have no foundations. A 4X4 vehicle and trailer would be used to transport it.

Other bodies which object to the plan include the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Exmoor National Park Authority, Knowstone, Rackenford and East Anstey parish councils and the Ramblers’ Association.

Exmoor National Park Authority said it was very concerned at the possibility of a wind farm on the site and reminded the district council of its duties to protect the areas bordering Exmoor.

Many of the organisations consulted by the district council said they had no objection to the proposal.

These included Devon County Council’s planning department, the Ministry of Defence, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Highway Authority.

Comments included in the report from the 167 letters of objection included worries about possible noise, unsightliness, harm to wildlife and damage to the tourist industry.

There was one letter in support of the application.

The report stated that the application was in line with national and local policies to encourage renewable energy generation. It pointed out the application was for testing equipment, and not for a wind farm.

“Granting temporary planning permission for this anemometer mast would not set any precedent in respect of future wind farm application,” said the report.

The council planning committee meets at 2.15pm on Wednesday at the New Hall, Barrington Street in Tiverton.


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