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Decision day looms for Brent Knoll wind farm

The final decision on whether a controversial wind farm near Brent Knoll will be given the go ahead is expected to be announced on Friday.

After months of planning meetings and appeal inquiries the planning inspectorate will announce whether or not five wind turbines will be built at a farm off Stoddens Lane.

The planning application was first refused by Sedgemoor District Council in August 2006 after a unanimous vote. The authority received 16 letters of support, 210 letters objecting to the scheme and three petitions from campaigners kNOll to Wind Farm, employees of Northan Farm and signatures from Families for Clean Energy (FORCE) supporting the plans.

Wind farm planners Next Generation, a subsidiary of renewable energy company Ecotricity, were told they had six months to appeal against the decision. It announced it was appealing against the decision in December.

An inquiry, which lasted 10 days, was held in August where planning inspector Robin Brookes heard representations from councils, protestors and planners.

The proposals from Next Generation include five three-bladed wind turbines with a maximum height of 120m at Inner Farm, north of Stoddens Lane. The turbines would be expected to produce the annual electricity demand of 10,041 houses. A single wind turbine can prevent up to 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere each year.

The proposals also included an electricity sub-station, access tracks and improved vehicle access from Stoddens Lane to the site.

The nearest village is Brent Knoll, which is 600m north-east of the proposed site. Several residents of the village were present throughout the entire appeal and the 40 stalwarts were personally thanked by Mr Brookes at the close of the inquiry.

Weston & Somerset Mercury

19 November 2007