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Court rejects wind farm protest  

Controversial plans for a wind farm near Rye were give the green light by a top judge this week.

The scheme for 26 giant turbines at Little Cheyne Court was approved by Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, last October.

But it came under attack by leading environmentalist Philip Merricks who fears local birds, in particular Bewick Swans, could be caught and killed by the turbines’ flashing blades.

His campaign to halt the project hit the buffers at London’s High Court when a top judge said Mr Darling had fully taken account the alleged threat to birdlife and his decision to approve the wind farm plans could not be faulted.

Icklesham farmer Mr Merricks manages the Romney Marsh Nature Reserve, including the Cheyne Court Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and was awarded an MBE in 1999 for his services to nature conservation.

Dismissing Mr Merricks’ challenge, Judge Hamilton said a DTI inspector who considered the proposals had correctly applied EU habitat regulations and taken a ‘precautionary approach’ when assessing the risk to bird life.

Mr Merricks argued surveys of the numbers of Bewick swans in the area were deeply flawed as particularly intensive bird scaring activities were going on at the time.

He also said a radar survey should have been carried out to assess the numbers of the protected birds flying over the wind farm site at night.


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