An area of North Devon which could be the site for England’s biggest windfarm needs protection in the same way an endangered species does, a public inquiry has heard.
The claim was made on the second day of the inquiry into Exeter-based Devon Wind Power’s plans to build 22 wind turbines, each 360ft tall, at Fullabrook Down, near Ilfracombe.
Planning consultant Peter Newland, speaking on behalf of the applicants, said that there were windfarms in other areas which, like North Devon, are known for their tranquility.
But Tony Bohannon, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), suggested that such areas were so rare they needed protection.
“Is it not like an endangered species? Where you want to put this windfarm is one of the few areas of tranquility, which makes it all the more important to save it,” said Mr Bohannon.
“People go to a tranquil area not just seeking an absence of noise, they are seeking an ambience. If you put 22 huge structures in to the area doesn’t that destroy the tranquility?”
Mr Newland said he was not convinced a wind- farm would have such an impact. He told the hearing “substantial weight” should be given to the contribution the Fullabrook proposal could make to renewable energy targets for the region. He said it would not have significant effects on noise, ecology, bird-life or archaeology.
Mr Newland agreed it would have a significant visual effect for some people living nearby, but said it could have significant economic benefits.
The inquiry has been called by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) and is expected to last about four weeks.
30 November 2006
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