Plans to erect nine 125-metre high turbines in the fields of rural Bedfordshire were thrown out by the Town Hall on Monday night.
Bedford Borough Council’s planning committee rejected the planning application for a wind farm at Airfield Farm, Podington.
And the decision was loudly applauded by the audience in a packed Harpur Suite, many of whom held banners opposing the application.
Steve Chambers, of the Campaign to Limit Onshore Windfarm Development (CLOWD), spoke on behalf of objectors.
He said: “There is a lot at stake, for the applicant and for the residents of north Bedfordshire, a huge number of whom have objected.
“The number of turbines would be harmful to the local area, and living conditions of residents would be significantly harmed.”
Mr Chambers added: “We believe that the benefits of the proposal would be significantly outweighed by the downsides. We ask the members of the committee to see this for what it is.
“The damage to the culture and heritage and the countryside far outweighs the benefits outlined by the applicant.”
The £20million project was first proposed more than two years ago, and would have produced 52.8million kWH of renewable zero-emission electricity per year according to developer Nuon Renewables. That is enough to fuel 11,000 homes, the equivalent of 20 per cent of homes in Bedford Borough.
Piers Guy, project manager for Nuon at Airfield Farm, said: “The biggest challenge facing us today is climate change, and how it affects the world that our children and grandchildren will inherit.
“The message is loud and clear. Emissions must peak and then fall within ten years if we are to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change. Early action is critical.”
The council had received 905 letters objecting to the planning application, and 1,114 supporting it.
But councillors followed the advice of planning officers, who recommended they reject the proposal on the grounds that the turbines would impact on the landscape, would harm living conditions of local residents, and would be too close to public footpaths and bridleways.
The officers added that the turbines would have a harmful affect upon several nearby listed buildings, and ancient monument the Wold Moated Enclosure.
Coun Nicky Attenborough (Con, Kempston East) got a round of applause after proposing the councillors reject the application.
She said: “I am convinced that this would cause the destruction of an area that is naturally beautiful for very little recompense.
“I am concerned that we are being swept along on a fashionable urge to save the environment, and I do not believe that this scheme would add a jot or a kilowatt to our power.”
13 June 2007
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