November 4, 2007

Wind turbine developments raise concern

West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger claims that the decision to put up 22 wind turbines just outside the Exmoor National Park boundary is going to be “a problem for the future”.

The site at Fullabrook Down in North Devon, is 4miles from the park’s border and there is concern that future developments around the fringe of the park would spoil the Ex-moor landscape, in particular views from the park itself.

A planning inspector’s report said that although the Fullabrook turbines on their own were not considered to cause material harm to the park, they would be visible from sections of its western and south-western edge.

The inspector also said that the site would be seen in the same sweeping landscape as other proposed turbines.

Twenty-four turbines under consideration are closer to the National Park than the ones at Fullabrook, raising concerns that the cumulative impact would be harmful to the countryside.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “The one thing I would say quite openly is that the National Park likes wind turbines but it doesn’t want them in the National Park – that is why it is more than happy to go quite close to the boundary.

“The National Park should say it opposes any further developments involving wind turbines that are seen from the park, it’s spoiling the lineage of Exmoor.

“In fact, the Government says we’ve got to have turbines but the cost is that they’re damaging the skyline with very little return in power.

“The National Park should have fought this much harder and it’s definitely going to be a problem for the future.”

David Wyborn, head of planning and community for the National Park Authority, said: “There has been a big furore about the Fullabrook development, especially in Barnsta-ple and North Devon.

“As the National Park Authority we don’t necessarily have a view for or against wind turbines.

“Effectively, the Government set Devon a target for renewable energy and if some of the total has been met by the Fullabrook development then it probably means the balance in terms of landscape impact can be given extra weight.”

By Lloyd Vaughan

Somerset County Gazette

2 November 2007

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