The comprehensive landscape reasons for planners recommending the IW Council turn down the controversial Wellow wind farm have been unveiled to the public, ahead of Monday’s planning decision on the scheme.
Consultants acting for the IW Council concluded the six turbines, two of which are nearly 110 metres tall, would have significant adverse effects on the protected landscape, nearby homes and rights of way, and insufficient consideration had been given by applicant Your Energy to mitigating adverse effects on the countryside.
Insufficient information was provided on the impact of the turbines on bats.
Your Energy’s application was submitted on May 30, three years after a Wellow scheme was first publicly mooted and six years after the site was first looked at for its wind potential.
It will be considered at a public meeting of the IW Council’s development control committee at Medina Theatre on Monday.
Planners concluded if the permission that exists for three turbines on Cheverton Down near Shorwell – but which have not yet been built – were taken into account, the cumulative impact on the Island’s landscape would also be too great.
Planners said there had been inadequate consideration of more acceptable alternative sites or designs.
Your Energy wants to build four 100-metre and two 109.5-metre turbines, from ground to blade tip, on farmland at Wellow.
All 18 blades would be manufactured by Newport firm Vestas, which wants to use the farm as a test bed and advertisement for its product.
Planners recognised the government’s planning guidance, which encouraged renewable energy, but said that was outweighed by the wind farm’s effect on the landscape. It was contrary to its local development framework and the draft South-East Plan.
ThWART spokesman Mike Hammond said: “We believe there are further, highly significant and compelling grounds on which the application should be rejected which have not been raised as reasons for refusal by the planning officer’s report.
“The impact of the proposals on wildlife, aviation safety, TV interference and noise disturbance, for example, materially strengthen the grounds for refusing this application and it is important the committee takes on board all grounds for rejecting the application.
“If the developer appeals against refusal, the council could lose the chance to argue its case on some very important issues affecting this site.”
Your Energy project director Patrick Geraets said: “We are urging councillors to be brave and for the Island to say it does want to make a real contribution to reduce carbon emissions.
“The effect on the landscape is a highly subjective reason for refusal and we have taken action to reduce both the height and number of turbines.
“Every form of energy generation has its positives and negatives, but wind power is here and we believe has fewer negatives than any other means.
“We passionately believe it is right for the Island on the right site and hope to be able to convince people and get our message across properly.”
# In-depth coverage of the wind farm debate in the Friday, October 27, County Press.
By Richard Wright
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