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High Court approves Kent wind farm despite fears for birds  

The High Court today cleared the way for a controversial wind farm which opponents say will present a hazard to birds, especially swans.

Farmer and award-winning environmental campaigner Philip Merricks attempted to block plans to construct the 26-turbine wind farm at Little Cheyne Court, Walland Marsh, Kent.

The site is close to a special protection area for birds.

Mr Merricks challenged last October’s decision by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, to approve the scheme.

He argued there had been a failure to take proper account of the danger of birds flying into turbine blades.

Today Deputy High Court Judge Hamilton rejected the argument and ruled Mr Darling had been entitled on the evidence before him to give his approval.

Mr Merricks farms at Icklesham, Rye, East Sussex, and manages the Romney Marsh Nature Reserve, which includes the Cheyne Court Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

In 1999 he was awarded an MBE for his services to nature conservation.

His counsel, Mr David Forsdick, told the court the windfarm had been “hugely controversial” from the outset, and the case had “general significance” to wind farm proposals all over the country.

But the judge ruled a Department of Trade and Industry inspector who considered the proposals had correctly applied EU habitat regulations and correctly assessed the risk to bird life.

Mr Darling’s ruling that the development would cause “no harm” to the area’s ecology “could not be faulted”.

Copyright Press Association 2006.

Publisher: Jon Land


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