A planning inspector has given approval for the construction of a nine-turbine wind farm in the Den Brook valley near Bow.
The decision followed a public inquiry in Okehampton in November 2006, to hear an appeal by energy company Renewable Energy Systems (RES) after its application for the 120m-high turbines was refused by West Devon Borough Council.
The Den Brook Valley Wind Turbine Action Group campaigned against the applications, and there were more than 3,000 letters of objection.
In his decision, the inspector noted the need to tackle climate change and the benefits of the project.
In discussing the potential visual effect of the wind farm he said: “I have little doubt that this location would -because of, rather than in spite of, its inherent topographical characteristics – rank highly among the landscapes most able to accommodate development of the type, scale and extent proposed.”
Rachel Ruffle, project manager for RES, said: “We are very pleased with the inspector’s decision. It allows the Den Brook wind farm to make a contribution to important national and regional efforts to meet renewable energy targets, cut greenhouse-gas emissions and avoid the serious impacts of climate change.
“We are also looking forward to bringing economic and environmental benefits to the area.”
She said the project would generate electricity equivalent to the annual needs of over 10,000 homes – or half of West Devon – and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.
Vice-chairman of the Den Valley action group, Jenny Rosser, said she was ‘fairly devastated and pretty shocked’ by the decision.
“The inspector believes that wind farms represent an alternative form of energy, and that we have to take the Government’s policy of encouraging them into account,” she said. “The main pity of this is the timing, because there is clearly a swell of opinion against onshore farms in favour of offshore ones.
“Denmark has stopped building onshore farms, and only now exports them.
“We will read the inspector’s report carefully and consider our next move.”
13 February 2007