Campaigners have claimed plans to build two 70 metre wind turbines less than two miles from Dartmoor would “irrevocably damage” the tranquil landscape.The Windfarm Lamerton Action Group (WIFLAG) yesterday gave evidence on the application it was set up to oppose.
West Devon Borough Council turned down the proposal for two community-run turbines, one-and-a-half times the height of Exeter Cathedral, two years ago, on grounds of the visual impact they would have.
Now, Robert and Carol Bradford, who own the land at Beech Farm, Lamerton, near the western edge of Dartmoor, have submitted the appeal, which is being heard at Tavistock Town Hall.
Yesterday, Christopher Burchell, coordinator of WIFLAG, urged the Government planning inspector to uphold the council’s original decision to throw out the plan. He said: “Whilst WIFLAG supports the general principles of sustainability and renewable energy, we feel that the gigantic size of these industrial machines will irrevocably damage the setting and integrity of this particular unique landscape.”
Jonathan Cardale, chief executive of the Dartmoor Preservation Association (DPA), also spoke in support of the council yesterday. He said the association only opposed turbine plans if they “intrude on Dartmoor or degrade its surroundings”.
He said the Beech Farm proposal was too close to the edge of Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He said it was also too close to the “iconic” Brentor church, a Grade 1 listed building.
Mr Cardale said: “This development would be contrary to the statutory purposes of the National Park, and would be wholly inappropriate.” The Bradfords claim the development would provide power for up to 1,300 homes in the area, and would generate £5 million for the community trust which would run it over its 25-year life span.
Yesterday, their witness Jackie Carpenter outlined why sustainable energy was “the most important issue of our time”.
Mrs Carpenter, a chartered engineer and former chief executive of renewable energy charity Energy21, said: “Wind energy alone cannot save the day, but is part of a diverse mix that can lead to a 100 per cent renewable energy solution for us all.
“The Beech Farm wind cluster is part of something big. It is a small piece in an enormous jigsaw puzzle, in which every single piece is important.”
The appeal hearing is expected to conclude on Monday.
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