A decision to allow 22 wind turbines at Fullabrook Down is to be challenged in the courts.
North Devon District Council is applying for a judicial review of the Government’s decision to allow the controversial development.
When the Government’s decision to allow the wind farm at Fullabrook Down was announced in October North Devon District Councillors voted to go as far as they could in objecting to the plan.
This has now led to the application for a judicial review. The move, which will initially cost about £2,000, was decided by the council’s executive committee.
A four week public inquiry into Devon Wind Power’s plans for Fullabrook took place from November 2006 to January 2007 with the scheme finally being given the go-ahead. Following the announcement, Devon Wind Power said it hoped to begin work in 12 months, with a finish date of 2010.
North Devon District Council will now make an initial application to the High Court to see if it has a case for a review. If the case then goes ahead, the High Court could overturn the plans by Devon Wind Power.
The Fullabrook Wind Farm, will be situated on a hilltop site between Ilfracombe and Braunton, near West Down.
The turbines will be 110m high – or more than three times the height of the Civic Centre in Barnstaple.
Covering a four mile area it would be the largest wind farm in the county.
Devon Wind Power said the farm will mean 150,000 tonnes less of carbon dioxide being produced each year and will help to lower sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions.
The company said if Fullabrook goes ahead it will generate sufficient power for about 37,000 homes, almost all the total domestic energy requirements for North Devon.
Leader of North Devon District Council, Cllr Mike Harrison said: “Our decision was taken in view of counsel’s advice and we will be making an application to the court to seek a judicial review.”
He said although it was unusual for the council to take this step, going to the courts was the final step for local authorities in “protection against the state”.
“As an Executive we were tasked by the full council with taking this forward as far as we could. The first part will be to see if we have the grounds to have an appeal.”
He said the council would put forward a detailed case, but the main thrust was to ” protect the landscape of North Devon and the quality of life of its inhabitants”.
He said: “I thought the decision to allow Fullabrook was perverse. These turbines are so massive.”
He said the first part, to see if the council could have a review, will cost about £2,000, then costs will be more “open ended”. But he added that costs would be covered with a contingency fund.
Cllr Harrison said: “We have to fight it. We have a tourist area and these turbines will be massive. I’m aware of the age group divide of opinion but I have a feeling it is a “do something” reaction and I’m not sure if this will be financially viable at all.”
By Catherine Courtenay
20 December 2007
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