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'Farce' claim in fight over turbine bid

Campaigners opposing plans to build nine massive wind turbines at what they are calling the “gateway to North Devon” have handed in a dossier to planners detailing why the scheme should not be approved.Members of the Two Moors Campaign, who say they welcome clean energy, but not giant wind turbines, are urging North Devon planners to refuse permission for the nine 360ft high turbines.

Power firm Npower Renewables wants to build the turbines at Batsworthy Cross on the southern fringes of Exmoor not far from the route of the North Devon Link Road, which carries traffic from the M5 into the region.

But the Two Moors Campaign said, that while they backed renewable power, it had to be on a scale that would not harm Devon’s environment.

Campaign chairman Ashley Gray said: “We support renewables on a realistic and suitable scale for Devon’s unique environment.

“Giant and inefficient wind turbines are not the answer to our 21st century energy needs. We urge Npower to think again.”

Yesterday, the group handed in what it called their “dodgy dossier” of reasons to oppose the turbine plan.

It had originally intended to hand it in last Thursday to coincide with the submission by Npower Renewables of its planning application.

But this was delayed when North Devon District Council’s planning department ruled that the application was invalid because insufficient copies had been submitted for consultees of the application.

Opponents of the plan were quick to jump on the matter. Ashley Gray said that people in the Exmoor area had been waiting for months to find out of Npower Renewables intended to proceed with their application.

He said it was a “farce” that the “vast and well-financed power giant” had failed to get the application process right first time.

“From the beginning its consultation lacked detail, accuracy and clear information,” he said.

A spokesman for the council said the power firm had rectified the matter and the application has been registered with the council.

Npower Renewables said it had found widespread support in the area and that many people realised the need to provide energy through renewable sources. Simon Holt, its development manager, said the Batsworthy Cross proposal could go a long way to meeting Devon’s renewable energy targets. The group believes the turbines could have a total capacity of 18MW, enough for around 8,000 homes every year.

By Mark Clough