The controversial wind turbine planning application at Batsworthy Cross is due to be considered by the Mid Devon District Council planning committee tomorrow.nPower Renewables has submitted the application for nine 103-metre turbines, to North Devon District Council, and Mid Devon is being asked to comment as the neighbouring authority.
The proposed 188-hectare site is two-and-a-half miles from Oakford and nine miles from Tiverton. The committee is being asked to consider only the impact of the development on Mid Devon, because the final decision will be made by North Devon.
It is estimated the turbines could create 30,748 and 51,245 megawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to meet the annual electricity requirements of between 6,500 and 10,900 homes.
The Two Moors Campaign was established in opposition to the development, and has held protest meetings and demonstrations, most recently at Knowstone Village Hall at the end of November.
Mid Devon has received four letters of objection, even though it will not be deciding the outcome of the application.
These letters claimed the turbines would have a detrimental visual impact on the surrounding countryside, would impact on wildlife such as bats and birds, and might distract drivers on the nearby A361 North Devon Link Road, resulting in accidents.
The main issue from the committee’s point of view is the development’s visual impact and whether it is so adverse as to recommend refusal.
Members will also be balancing the environmental impact of the proposal against the positive environmental effects, and the contribution it would make to the government’s renewable energy targets.
The environmental statement accompanying the application says the South West has a target of supplying 10 to 15% of its electricity production by 2010, and Batsworthy would help meet this target.
A report on the application has been prepared for the committee, and an officer’s recommendation will be made verbally at the meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at the New Hall, Barrington Street, Tiverton, at 2.15pm tomorrow.
By Ellen Cook
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